Accidents are inevitable. Whether that is due to an accident during an intense session of contact sport or if it’s due to a midnight mishap at a bar brawl, oral injuries can sometimes pop up unexpectedly. Dental injuries can be minute or exponential depending on your trauma and may not even show full signs of contusion. It is therefore important for you to understand which dental injuries take emergency priority and which can wait until your dentist’s regular office hours begin. Reinstituting the difference between real and pseudo emergencies can save you and your family unnecessary visits to the dentist!
Reasons why you may need to emergency dental care
Pain and discomfort are obvious symptoms to push you into availing of emergency dental care. However, there may also be other reasons why your next visit to the emergency room can manifest. Here are five different scenarios when you may need emergency dental care and how you can take care of your oral health while on the way!
- Chipped or broken teeth
Broken or fractured teeth are one of the most common reasons why people seek emergency dental care. A traumatized tooth due to accidents or biting into hard foods can be a culprit to have you running to the hospital in the middle of the night. Fortunately, according to the American Association of Endodontists, if quick action is taken, the tooth may be salvageable. Even if your tooth has completely fallen off, your dentist may be able to reinsert it and preserve your tooth oral health.
What you can do: If you have just chipped a tooth, try rinsing your mouth with a warm saline solution to help relieve the pain. Only handle the tooth crown to get rid of the debris and dirt that can potentially contaminate the viable tooth. Do not attempt to glue together the broken fragments of your tooth, instead insert your broken tooth in milk and deliver it to your dentist as quickly as possible.
- Missing tooth filling
Did you eat something and notice one of your teeth agape where the filling should have been? A missing or fallen out tooth filling can keep you awake at night and may interfere with eating. Although not a major emergency, you may feel intense bouts of sensitivity due to your missing tooth fillings.
What you can do: As soon as you notice one of your tooth fillings or crowns missing, schedule an appointment at your doctor’s. Do not attempt to fill the space with sharp objects such as thumbtacks or paper balls.
While toothache can come in various forms and intensities, you may feel majorly disturbed by its presence. Toothache can manifest due to an unclean mouth when oral hygiene has reached a fork in the road or when your wisdom teeth are gradually coming in. Whether you are experiencing hypersensitivity or a continuous throbbing ache, you may entertain the idea of visiting the dentist as early as you can.
What you can do: When pain strikes, rinse your mouth with a warm saline water rinse to alleviate the pain and reduce signs of swelling, says the American Dental Association. You can also chew on sugarless gum and use it to cover the exposed nerve in cases where your searing tooth sensitivity is driving you crazy. These may give you temporary relief but you will need professional intervention for long-term effects.
- Bleeding gums
You may have observed that your gums start to bleed at odd times of the day. Do they bleed when you brush your teeth or when you bite into something hard, say an apple? Bleeding gums are the tell-tale signs that gum disease is actively pursuing in your oral cavity. If left untreated or neglected, your oral tissues may develop irreversible infection and may even cause cellulitis and loss of teeth!
What you can do: Initially, bleeding gums may not seem like a major issue and can also be manipulated easily. For starters, change your toothbrush to incorporate softer bristles. A regular and thorough oral hygiene regime can go a long way in curbing rapidly progressive gum disease.
- Abscessed teeth
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that develops in the root portions of your teeth due to bacterial invasion and infection. A periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the tooth root, whereas a periodontal abscess occurs in the side of the gums of the tooth root. It can lead to a severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can radiate and refer to the jawbone, neck, or ear. It may also cause tooth hypersensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, fever, and swelling in the face or cheek.
What you can do: An abscessed tooth can be a major dental emergency. The pain may persist until you see an emergency doctor. Use a hot or cold compress on the side of your face to reduce swelling and lower pain. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.
What do emergency dentists do?
Emergency dental professionals are able to diagnose the underlying cause of your pain and potential contributory symptoms. For instance, a toothache could mean a wide array of dental possibilities. It could indicate the presence of a cavity deep enough to penetrate the pulp within the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. However, a toothache can also mean that you are a nocturnal teeth-grinder. The only way to know for certain is to request an appointment with an emergency dentist.
In dental literature, emergencies can mean a diverse range of dental issues. It is wise for you to visit an emergency dental care unit if you are suffering from any of these dental problems that may need urgent care.
- Severe tooth pain
- Dental abscess
- Knocked-out tooth
- A broken tooth or large piece of a tooth is missing
- A large chip or crack in the tooth
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Diffuse swelling or trauma that may obstruct the patient’s airways
If you have been suffering from any of these dental traumas, do not put off seeing an emergency dentist. The sooner you seek dental help, the easier it would help your dentist rid you of your dental issues.