Most parents know when to call their child's pediatrician immediately, but many are unaware of the symptoms of a possible dental emergency. Unfortunately, dental issues can have many health ramifications that extend beyond oral health, including infections, fevers, and sepsis. The following are the signs that you need to call your family dentist immediately to schedule a checkup.

1. Oral Pain

Oral pain that cannot be traced to a simple injury, such as a minor mouth burn from hot liquid, could indicate several different issues. Oral pain could indicate a gum or tooth infection, a cavity, damage to the nerve in a tooth, or trauma to the gums or jawbone. Your dentist will be able to determine the cause and begin treatment. Infections typically must be treated immediately with an antibiotic to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the body. Complaints with a tooth, especially if it is an adult tooth, also need to be addressed immediately to prevent tooth loss.

2. Tooth Discoloration

A child's teeth can become discolored for many reasons. Some people have naturally thin enamel, which allows the darker dentin layer to show through. In some cases, too much fluoride or other minerals in the water or diet can lead to discoloration. White spots on a tooth can indicate caries, precursors to cavities, are forming, whereas browning can indicate a tooth is dying. Only your dentist can determine the cause of the discoloration. Some issues, like thin enamel, are typically harmless, while others, like decay, need to be addressed immediately.

3. Gum Issues

Healthy gums should be pale to medium pink and they should rarely if ever bleed. If your child's gums appear red, inflamed, or swollen, then they may have an oral infection. Bleeding is another warning sign, particularly if it happens consistently after brushing or flossing, or for no reason at all. Gum infections can quickly spread to other parts of the body. The infection can also lead to tooth loss.

4. Tooth Damage

Whether the damage occurs to a baby tooth or an adult tooth, you need to see your dentist. A cracked or chipped baby tooth, for example, can become infected. This infection can spread to the gums or even enter the developing adult tooth below. As for adult teeth, they must be repaired before they are exposed to cavities and decay.

For more help, contact a family dentist and set up an appointment to have your child's teeth and gums examined.