February 16, 2023
If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then the mouth is the window to your overall health. Although dental care only involves the teeth, tongue, gums, and mouth, these parts play a critical role in your daily life—from eating to gaining confidence.
That said, some people neglect their dental health until something goes terribly wrong and requires emergency dental care. Experienced Georgetown dentist Dr. Zhao shares what emergency dental care is and what conditions require one.
What Is A Dental Emergency?
At its core, a dental emergency is anything but routine care. With such an emergency, immediate action is necessary to resolve discomfort, pain, or any issue in your mouth to prevent further problems.
Dental emergencies are more common than you think and often occur when you least expect them. Whether you tripped in the middle of your sports or chewed on hard candy, these dental emergencies can be too severe that there’s no other option except to rush to the dentist’s office.
Also note that while most dental emergencies are often associated with severe pain, sometimes, it’s still considered an emergency even if you don’t feel anything. Patients usually neglect these cases, resulting in severe health conditions or irreversible damage to the mouth.
What Conditions Necessitate Emergency Dental Care?
As mentioned before, most dental emergencies are associated with severe pain. While regular toothache can still give you excruciating pain, dental pains that are considered an emergency are those that can’t be controlled with over-the-counter medications.
If you’re experiencing severe and constant pain, to the point that you’re losing sleep or it becomes intolerable, the culprit can be something more serious such as an infection. In this case, you need to visit the dentist right away.
Speaking of infections, if you suspect that you have a severe dental infection, you should visit your dentist right away. Generally, a dental infection results from an underlying dental condition left untreated for too long. The most common symptoms include difficulty swallowing or breathing, extreme pain, and fever.
Various infections inside your mouth can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. For instance, bacteria that cause periodontal disease or severe gum infection can enter your bloodstream, causing plaque build-up in your arteries. The plaque hardens over time, causing the condition known as atherosclerosis, a dangerous form of cardiovascular disease. It causes blood flow issues and blockages, increasing your chances of experiencing a heart attack.
In addition to this increased risk, the infectious bacteria from your mouth can damage your blood vessels. In rare cases, a tooth infection can develop into endocarditis, in which bacteria can infect the heart’s inner lining and cause a potentially fatal inflammation.
Damaged tooth due to injuries or accidents is one of the most common reasons to seek emergency dental care. Broken, chipped, or fractured teeth can lead to other complications if not addressed promptly. A minor chip or fracture may not be as alarming as excruciating pain, but it can worsen over time.
Any fracture can grow over time until it reaches the pulp chamber. Once it reaches the chamber, the pulp and nerve inside can become exposed to food particles and bacteria. This results in infections and tooth decay, leading to more severe problems or the complete loss of the tooth.
If you have dental injuries from trauma, an emergency dental visit is even more critical. There’s a possibility that the trauma may have damaged the surrounding gum nerves and tissue. Also, any impact to the head or face can cause trauma to the bones of the face, which can compromise other functions such as breathing or chewing.
Orthodontics, like braces, are durable. These brackets and metal wires are designed to withstand every wear and tear. However, they can still break or can get loosened. Although you can try a temporary fix, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to resolve the issue.
Damaged orthodontics can cause discomfort, especially if the sharp end of the wire starts poking your gums or cheeks, causing cuts and injuries. Even if it doesn’t cause pain, compromised orthodontics can slow down or reverse the progress of straightening and aligning your teeth if not repaired immediately.
While most people may visit their dentist for routine services, dental emergencies can occur and are more common than you think. Now that you know which condition entails a dental emergency, if you experience any of them, don’t delay any longer. Visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent the issue from worsening and get back to feeling better.
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