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Dental Emergencies


Swelling can occur in your mouth for a variety of reasons. These can include:

Infection is the most common source of dental inflammation and swelling, and most frequently occurs in a cracked tooth or a tooth with deep decay. There are also non-infectious sources of swelling that can affect your jaws, or block salivary glands. Depending on the location of the infection or inflammation, you may notice swelling in your cheeks, gums, the floor of the mouth, lips, or neck.

Swelling in the mouth may or may not be an emergency that requires a trip to an emergency department or urgent care facility.

What to do

  • Swelling of the tongue or in the back of the mouth can be very serious, as it can restrict the airway and prevent proper breathing. If the swelling is severe or affecting your ability to breath or swallow, get immediate medical attention or call 911 for a more rapid response.
  • If you notice swelling in any area of your mouth, but don't consider it an emergency, contact your dentist immediately for an evaluation.

Author: Symbyos staff, Fluent staff
Last updated: 2/9/2021Medical review: Thomas J. Greany DDS, 2/7/2021
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