People experience dental issues all the time. More often than not, those dental issues are of the type that can wait until morning or even a few days before we seek the help of a dental professional. If you have a toothache, for example, it isn’t necessary to drive immediately to the dentist the moment you start feeling some discomfort. The same goes for losing a filling or a crown.
Some dental problems, however, require the immediate attention of an emergency dentist, especially when they are causing severe pain or are life-threatening.
So what situations are considered as dental emergencies?
One of the most common dental emergencies out there is a knocked-out tooth. This dental situation can happen to anyone, from people who play contact sports to children who get tripped on the playground. It can even happen at home, where a lot of accidents happen.
Those who get a tooth or more out of their mouths will typically be in pain from the impact alone. Then the trauma sets in, and the aching and soreness will feel more magnified, especially when it starts to swell.
It would be great if you can immediately bring the patient straight to the emergency dentist, but before you leave, make an effort to retrieve the knocked-out tooth. After all, it stands a good chance of being reimplanted as long as it’s done within 30 minutes of the accident.
When you do find the tooth, pick it up by the crown, rinse it to remove any debris, and put it in a glass of milk or water. To help relieve the pain, apply a cold compress to the affected area. Giving him or her pain medication like Ibuprofen will also help.
There are a variety of reasons why your teeth might crack or fracture. Any impact to the mouth area from accidents or blows can cause a tooth to crack. If you grind your teeth during sleep, then the pressure will likely do some damage. You’re also bound to suffer a broken tooth if you chew or bite on hard food like hard candy or nuts. Your teeth might also crack due to abrupt changes in temperature inside your mouth, like drinking hot coffee one minute then drinking ice-cold water the next.
On the surface, a cracked tooth doesn’t seem that dangerous. However, a crack could easily worsen into a complete break, and the area would be jagged and sharp enough to cut your tongue, which would cause unnecessary pain and possible infection.
Speaking of pain, you may also experience a lot of it if the break is close to the nerve. Any pressure you put on it, like chewing on food, may increase your discomfort to intolerable levels.
Before you drive to the emergency dentist, relieve some of that pain by rinsing your mouth with warm water. Doing so would also help remove any tiny piece of your tooth that might still be in your mouth. If there’s any swelling, then apply a cold compress to the affected area outside of your face. You can also choose to take pain relievers.
Caused by a bacterial infection, an abscessed tooth is typically a pocket of pus that may cause a lot of pain. Aside from a nasty and persistent toothache, a dental abscess may also cause fever, tender lymph nodes in the net, and some swelling in the face. There is also a correlation between tooth infections and heart disease, making an abscessed tooth one of the most dangerous dental emergencies out there.
Make an appointment with your emergency dentist at the first sign of pain from what you suspect to be an abscessed tooth. Do not delay this, because the infection can spread to your jaw and complicate everything.
If you’re experiencing any of the above or any other dental problem that requires urgent treatment to ease severe pain, save a tooth, or address a life-threatening situation, then you have a dental emergency. While regular dentists can help, the round-the-clock availability of emergency dentists makes them the best people to run to when faced with a severe dental situation.