A dental emergency is a situation that requires immediate attention from a dental professional to alleviate severe pain, stop bleeding, or prevent permanent damage to your teeth or gums.
Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and it’s essential to know when to seek immediate dental care. Delaying treatment can lead to further complications and even permanent damage.
If you’re experiencing severe dental pain, if you have a soft tissue injury or other dental injuries, schedule an emergency dental appointment with your dentist right away. In this article, we’ll explore what constitutes a dental emergency and provide you with some tips on how to prevent common dental emergencies.
Types of Dental Emergencies
If you have a severe toothache, you may have a dental infection. There are several steps you can take to alleviate the pain and prevent further damage while you wait for your emergency dental appointment. First, rinse your mouth with warm water. Swish it around in your mouth to help remove any food particles or debris that may be causing the pain. Place a cold compress or ice pack on the outside of your cheek to help reduce swelling and numb the pain.
You can also take over-the-counter pain medication like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, which can help reduce pain and facial swelling while you wait for an emergency dental appointment. Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment to alleviate the pain.
Cracked or Broken Tooth
If you have a cracked or broken tooth, first rinse your mouth with warm water to help remove any small pieces of tooth that may be loose or debris that may be causing pain. Then cover any sharp edges with dental wax or sugarless chewing gum to help prevent it from cutting your tongue or cheeks.
You should contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Depending on the severity of the crack or break, your dentist may recommend a dental crown, filling, or root canal to repair the damage and prevent further complications.
Broken Dental Restoration or Broken Orthodontic Appliances
If you have a broken or loose crown or other dental restoration, you should follow the same steps as you would for a cracked or broken tooth. Try to save any broken pieces of the restoration and bring them with you to your emergency dental appointment.
For broken orthodontic appliances, be sure to cover any sharp edges or wires with a dental wax in order to avoid injury to the tongue or gum tissue.
You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever as a temporary measure while you wait for your appointment.
If you have a knocked-out tooth, it’s important to act quickly to increase the chances of saving the tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown (the top part) and avoid touching the root, which can damage the cells needed for root resorption. Gently rinse the tooth in clean water to remove any dirt or debris, but do not scrub it or use any soap or chemicals.
If possible, try to reinsert the tooth into its socket, making sure it’s facing the right way. Hold the tooth in place by gently biting down on a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, store it in a container of milk or saliva (in your cheek) to keep it moist until you can get to a dentist.
Call your dentist or seek emergency dental care as soon as possible. The faster you can get to a dentist, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
Loose or Displaced Tooth
If you have a loose or displaced tooth, there are several steps you can take to protect the tooth and prevent further damage. If the tooth is only slightly loose or displaced, you can try to gently reposition it back into its original position using your finger or tongue. However, do not force the tooth back into place. You can bite down on a clean piece of gauze or cloth to help keep it in place.
If you are experiencing pain around the site of the tooth, you can place a cold compress or ice pack on the outside of your cheek or take over-the-counter pain medication to help reduce swelling and numb the pain.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a broken jaw may require a visit to either a hospital emergency room or to an emergency dentist. You should seek emergency dental care right away, especially if the injury is causing intense pain. Try to keep your jaw as still as possible and avoid moving it while you wait for emergency treatment.
Your doctor or dentist will evaluate the extent of the injury and may order x-rays or other imaging tests to determine the severity of the fracture. Treatment for a broken jaw or broken facial bones typically involves immobilizing the jaw with wires, plates, or rubber bands to allow the bones to heal. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to realign the jaw.
Bleeding or Laceration to the Gums, Tongue, or Cheeks
If you experience bleeding or laceration to the gums, tongue, or cheeks, use a clean cloth or gauze to apply pressure to the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. Then, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to help clean the area and prevent infection.
It’s important to seek prompt medical attention if the bleeding is severe or does not stop, as it could indicate a more serious injury or infection. Additionally, if the injury is caused by a foreign object or sharp tooth, it’s essential to seek medical attention to remove the object and prevent further damage.
Abscess or Infection in the Mouth
An abscess or infection in the mouth is a serious condition that requires emergency dental care. It is often caused by a bacterial infection in the tooth or gums and can lead to sharp pain, swelling, redness, and even fever. If left untreated, a dental infection can spread to the surrounding soft tissue or other parts of the body and cause serious health complications.
Treatment for an abscess or infection in the mouth usually involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria and drainage of the abscess. It is important to seek emergency dental care as soon as possible to prevent the infection from worsening.
Tips for Preventing Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies like traumatic injuries to the face or fractured teeth can’t always be prevented. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the likelihood of situations like toothaches or loose teeth.
- Be sure to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly.
- Avoid biting down on hard objects like ice or popcorn kernels, which can cause chips or cracks in your teeth.
- Wear a mouth guard during sports or other physical activities to protect your teeth from injury.
Contact Raleigh Dental Loft if You Have a Dental Emergency
If you are experiencing excessive pain or if you have an dental emergency situation, it is important to seek care right away to prevent further damage or complications. Raleigh Dental Loft is a trusted dental practice that offers emergency services to patients in need. We have a team of experienced and skilled dentists who can quickly diagnose and treat a variety of dental emergencies, including toothaches, broken or knocked-out teeth, and infections.
With our state-of-the-art equipment and compassionate care, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Don’t hesitate to contact our dental office in Raleigh for emergency dental treatment.