Periodontal emergencies are rare, as rarely do gum problems hurt like a toothache.   Of course many of you have not had a toothache in order to know the difference. The following list describes the most common periodontal emergencies:
  • SWELLING or ABSCESS: Usually the gum around ONE tooth becomes tender and over several days starts to swell (this is now a gum abscess).  At some point in time the absess pops or drains, releasing a white or bloody fluid. If it is white it is called PUS and often tastes bitter.  If there is pus, that means there is usually severe breakdown and destruction of the bone support around the tooth- this is very bad.  You should see your Periodontist as soon as possible for treatment. After the abscess drains, the area feels all right for awhile until the area swells again.   These sequence of events happens repeatedly until you either go for treatment or the tooth gets so loose and possibly painful to biting that it must be extracted.   Don't waste any time: see Dr. MAO as soon as possible (ASAP)!
  • BLEEDING GUMS: If your gums bleed easily, most commonly during brushing, this is usually a sign of a deeper seated active gum infection.  It is usually not painful, but is an earlier sign of gum disease. Occassionally this can be an emergency if it gets bad enough.  Dr. Mao should be seen to evaluate your problem and also to rule out a systemic problem which may stem from another place in your body.   Bleeding gums are dangerous as you may possibly transmit or receive bodily fluids (including bacteria or viruses) through such actions as kissing. 
  • PAIN: It is sometimes difficult to tell if you have pain from a tooth or from the gums.  Most of the time it is the tooth 9requiring a filling or root canal).  But occassionally, an infection in your gums can be bad enough such that it elicits pain.  Usually the pain occurs when you press on the gum (not the tooth); sometimes the area feels spongy and may elicit a bloody or white fluid.  If this is the case, call or E-mail Dr. Mao as soon as possible.


Richard Mao, D.M.D.
Practice Limited to Periodontics
E-Mailwith Questions


402 Severn Bldg.
8600 La Salle Rd.
Towson, Md. 21286
Tel:(410) 321-9595
707 N.Hickory Ave.
Bel Air, Md. 21014
Tel:(410) 879-6969