Dental emergencies can be uncomfortable and painful. They can happen anytime and can range from a simple toothache to a broken or knocked-out tooth. It’s essential to know what to do in these cases so you can take immediate action.
This blog post will discuss some common dental emergencies, their causes, and the best ways to handle them. Whether you’re facing a dental emergency or want to be prepared for one, keep reading for some useful tips!
What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is a situation that requires quick dental attention to avoid serious damage to the teeth, gums, or jaw. Some common dental emergencies include: severe toothache, broken or chipped tooth, knocked-out tooth, lost filling or crown, gum bleeding, swelling or abscess, jaw pain or injury, and bite wounds.
If you experience any of these, it’s important to seek prompt dental care to minimize the risk of further damage and infection, and to restore your oral health as soon as possible.
A knocked-out permanent tooth
If you knock out an adult tooth, it’s important to act quickly to maximize the chances of saving it. First, find the tooth and handle it carefully by the crown, avoiding touching the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it briefly under running water but don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue. Try to place the tooth back into its socket and hold it in place by gently biting down on a clean cloth.
If re-implantation isn’t possible, store the tooth in a milk or saline solution container and visit your dentist as soon as possible — ideally within 30 minutes of the injury. The dentist may be able to re-implant the tooth or provide alternative treatments, such as a dental bridge or implant, to restore your smile and prevent long-term consequences.
A severe toothache can be a sign of a more serious underlying dental problem, such as an infection, cavity, or abscess, and requires prompt attention to prevent further damage.
First, try to rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it and relieve some of the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may also provide temporary relief. These are only temporary solutions, and you should seek professional dental care as soon as possible.
It’s important to visit your dentist to diagnose the cause of your toothache and provide the appropriate treatment. Your dentist may recommend a filling, root canal, or other procedure to address the issue and get your oral health back on track. If you have an abscess, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection.
Keep in mind that avoiding or delaying treatment for a severe toothache can lead to more serious and costly problems in the future — so seek professional help as soon as possible!
Broken, chipped, or cracked tooth
Depending on the extent of the injury, a broken or cracked tooth can cause pain, sensitivity, or even infections. A small chip may not cause any immediate symptoms, but it can still weaken the tooth structure and increase the risk of further damage over time.
Your dentist will examine the damaged tooth and determine the best course of action to repair it, which may involve a filling, crown, or other restorative procedure. If the damage is severe or the tooth is in danger of being lost, your dentist may recommend a more complex treatment such as a root canal, dental implant, or bridge. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions and attend regular check-ups to monitor the health of the affected tooth and prevent future problems.
Infection or abscess
If you have an infection or abscess in your mouth, visit your dentist immediately to prevent the spread of infection and further complications. An infection or abscess can cause pain, swelling, redness, and fever, and may also lead to tooth loss or spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Your dentist will diagnose the cause of the infection and recommend the appropriate treatment, which may involve antibiotics, a root canal, or other procedures to remove the source of the infection and restore your oral health.
It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions, take any prescribed medication as directed, and attend follow-up appointments to monitor the progress of the infection and ensure that it has been fully treated.
Broken or damaged restoration
A broken or lost restoration can expose the tooth to decay, infection, or sensitivity and may also affect your bite and chewing ability.
Your dentist will assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action to repair or replace the restoration. In some cases, the broken or lost restoration can be temporarily repaired or re-cemented in the same appointment. If the damage is more extensive, your dentist may need to prepare a new crown or filling.