If you do not know the common signs of an emergency dental situation, it is likely that you will not be able to distinguish between an issue and a more serious condition.
Dental emergencies can happen even if you have been taking good care of your smile all these years. It does not matter how much money and time you invest in maintaining your oral health, and sometimes things can go wrong without any warning signs at all.
This article aims to help people understand when they need to call their dentist right away so they do not waste time waiting for dental treatment when they should call right away for emergency treatment.
Dental emergencies are potentially life-threatening conditions that require immediate treatment to reduce severe pain, stop bleeding, or prevent infection.
What's Considered as a Dental Emergency?
While dental care emergencies are more common than you may think, not every single dental problem should be considered an emergency. The key to successful emergency dental care is recognizing when you should call a dentist or go directly into their office.
Some problems can wait until your next regular appointment to receive treatment, while others need immediate intervention for pain or bleeding control. Below are dental issues considered as dental emergencies and would require urgent dental care:
What's Not Considered as a Dental Emergency?
It is not a dental emergency if you can wait a few days to see your dentist. Often, issues that seem urgent at first can wait for a couple of days if you know how to take care of them.
What to Do During Dental Emergencies
- Knocked-out tooth: If an adult or permanent tooth is knocked out, place the knocked-out tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If you cannot do that, keep it moist by placing it between your gums and cheek or in milk and go to your dentist’s office as soon as you can.
- Chipped or cracked tooth: A chipped tooth that does not hurt is usually not considered a dental emergency, but the chipping could worsen with chewing. Cracked or fractured teeth present a serious dental issue. They typically indicate that damage has occurred both externally and internally. There are times when teeth can not be saved because of severe fractures. Clean your mouth with warm water right away if you have a cracked tooth. Keep the swelling down with cold compresses on the face and call your dentist for an emergency appointment.
- Dental abscess: An abscessed tooth is a dangerous infection that happens when a pocket of pus forms inside the tooth. There is no doubt that this is a dental emergency because the disease could spread to the jaw and the surrounding tissues if not treated immediately. It could cause a high fever, a swollen face, and a consistent toothache. A saltwater rinse may help relieve the pain until you can see an emergency dentist who will take care of it for you.
- Extreme tooth pain: Extreme tooth pain is not a good sign. Many conditions, including tooth decay, can cause severe toothache. In some cases, toothaches can be managed without emergency dental treatment, but facial swelling and severe dental pain require immediate attention. Warm water can be used to rinse your mouth, and use dental floss to remove any food debris caught between your teeth gently. To treat the swelling, place a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel on the outside of the cheek and call your dentist for emergency care.
- Bleeding Gums: If you notice that your gums are bleeding, visit an emergency dentist for a dental examination. The dental examination will help determine whether your gum injury is a minor irritation or a significant health issue. If your gums are bleeding, make a hydrogen peroxide solution and rinse your mouth with it. Do not swallow the solution. You may also clean your mouth with a warm saltwater rinse to reduce bacteria and stop the bleeding. If the bleeding was caused by dental trauma or injury to the gum tissue, apply a cold compress on the affected area for relief from pain.
A dental emergency can happen at any time, and it can be scary and overwhelming. It is essential to know what steps you need to take to prevent your oral health from deteriorating. If you or someone in your care is experiencing pain, swelling, numbness, discolouration of the gums near the teeth, difficulty chewing food or drinking liquids with an open mouth, it is crucial to see our dentist ASAP. We understand that not all emergencies are urgent enough for after-hours care. We will be able to help even if you do not have an appointment scheduled.
We hope this article has helped you understand what to do in the event of a dental emergency. To help ensure your teeth are healthy, make sure you visit your regular dentist twice per year for routine checkups. If you have any questions or concerns about these tips, please get in touch with us. Dental emergencies can happen anytime, and we want to be there when they do.