Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Election night celebrations for Cherelle Parker’s historic win in the Philly mayor’s race came with an added twist, when the newly-annointed Democratic nominee was unable to attend her victory party due to a “dental issue.”

Parker was out and about earlier in the day, casting her vote in East Mount Airy with her son, 10-year-old Langston, before stopping for a photo op at a classic politico hangout

“Swung by the Famous 4th Street Deli to hug on a few friends and grab a corned beef sandwich and fries to go so I can keep pounding the pavement,” Parker captioned her Instagram post of the visit. “Can’t stop, won’t stop!” 

Unfortunately, it appears the decision to stop wasn’t Parker’s to make. Can a dental issue really get so bad so fast that it’ll keep you from a hard-fought moment of victory?

Indeed it can, according to recent Philadelphia dental medical school graduate Sarah Borsdorf.

“Oftentimes, where people might let a toothache go for a while, or maybe a tooth that has an underlying infection, they may not necessarily have severe emergent symptoms until the swelling occurs, and that can happen within a couple of hours,” Borsdorf told Billy Penn. 

An infection can be brewing for a while, she added, before it “really flares up [and] the body can’t handle it anymore.”

That appears to be what happened to Parker.

The 50-year-old former City Councilmember had discovered back in February she needed a tooth pulled, according to The Inquirer, but held off on the surgery until last Friday in favor of focusing on her campaign. 

It seems perhaps Parker held off too long. 

There are other ways dental emergencies can suddenly take people out of commission, per Borsdorf.  

Most obvious and immediate is physical trauma, resulting in a lost or broken tooth, or a tooth that’s shifted in its bone. Swelling, particularly when accompanying a fever and not responding to over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen, can also be a cause for immediate medical attention, as can swelling affect a patient’s airway.

We don’t have specific details about what treatment Parker received. But if it was swelling from an underlying infection, the Democratic nominee could be back out and about today — or could need some additional time to recover.

“It depends on the extent of the situation,” Bosdorf explained. “If somebody just had some swelling associated with fever and such, some antibiotics. Or maybe the swelling required incision and drainage, [then] usually the person would feel better in the next 24 hours.”

Ultimately, Bosdorf said, “any dental infection or emergency is going to require some time to rest and not necessarily get back to work the next day.”

Parker should have a bit of time to recover. After concluding the intense primary campaign, the Democratic nominee will face Republican David Oh in the general election this fall.

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Ali MohsenFood & Drink Reporter

Ali Mohsen is Billy Penn's food and drink reporter.