What Is Considered A Dental Emergency and How to Avoid It
When a dental problem arises, your dentist should always be the first person you should call. But what happens when such a problem is on holiday, in the middle of the night, or on weekends? If you are experiencing a severe dental problem outside office working hours, you will likely need to see an emergency dentist.
However, you will need to have a good understanding of the difference between a real emergency that puts a threat on your health and can cause you to lose a tooth and just a standard dental issue that can wait until morning. Below are some things you should know about dental emergencies and how to recognize and avoid them.
How Do You Recognize If It’s A Dental Emergency?
As identified by the American Family Physician, more than 22% of Americans have encountered oral pain in the last 6 months, which points to the fact that dental emergencies can be very common.
However, not all dental situation should be considered an emergency. So, to help you decide if your case is an emergency or it can wait for your dentist, these are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Are you encountering a severe pain? Bleeding and severe pain are both signs of an emergency
- Do you have an infection? If you have an abscess or other serious infection in your mouth, you should immediately see your emergency dentist because they can be life-threatening. Also, watch out for swelling on your gums or around the face.
- Have you lost a tooth? Normally, adults should not lose a tooth. Even if it’s without pain, losing a tooth is a serious problem.
- Are you experiencing bleeding in your mouth? This is also a potential sign of an emergency.
Having any of these symptoms could mean an emergency, so call your emergency dentist right away if you experience any of them.
But What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?
Some dental issues that require immediate attention include:
#1: Knocked-out teeth
A knocked-out tooth can cause extensive bleeding, but you can control it by applying direct pressure on the site with a cold compress. Get the knocked-out tooth, and carefully rinse in clean water to remove dirt, and carefully restore it back in its socket. Make sure you don’t touch the root section while doing that.
However, if you can’t do this, you can gently wrap the tooth in a cool, wet cloth or in a cup of milk and go see your dentist. If you are able to get to your dentist within the next 30 minutes after it fell out, the tooth can still be re-implanted. So, you shouldn’t waste any time seeing your emergency dentist right away!
#2: Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth
If it doesn’t cause any pain or sensitivity, chipped or broken teeth are not considered as dental emergencies. This is also applicable to damaged tooth restorations. However, you should still see your dentists as soon as you can to address the problem.
Whether you are experiencing minimal or severe damage, you should avoid chewing with the damaged tooth so you won’t be causing more damage. If the damage is severe and extends to the inner structure of your tooth, use warm water to clean your mouth and take a pain killer like aspirin or acetaminophen to help you manage the pain while you wait to see your dentist.
#3: Misaligned or lose tooth
A misaligned or lose tooth should be fixed as soon as you can. While it may be a bit uncomfortable, avoid trying to force the tooth back into position. Instead, gently bite it down or gently apply pressure with your finger until you are able to see your dentist.
#4: Abscess and other infections
An infection around the gum or tooth’s root can cause severe pain. It can also cause swelling in the soft tissues. In order to stop the infection from spreading to other delicate parts of the body, an abscess should be considered as a dental emergency and should be treated immediately.
#5: Facial fracture
Injuries to the face that result in broken teeth or bones should be considered as medical emergencies. After the patient is out of danger, an emergency dentist should be consulted immediately for help.
#6: Broken dental appliance
Broken wire or braces can cause injury to the soft tissues in your mouth, result in bleeding, and cause speaking and eating difficulties. You should fix damaged appliances immediately in order to avoid injuries and to help restore your life.
How To Avoid Potential Dental Emergencies
Staying proactive in your oral hygiene and having routine check-ups with your dentist is the best way to prevent dental emergencies. During your visit to the dentist, he or she will check for lose crowns and fillings and also look out for signs of infection, decay, and gum disease.
If there are any detected problems, a custom treatment plan can be created to address them before they result in an emergency. Another tip is also to listen to your teeth and body and watch out for signs that may be telling you that an emergency is close by.