Everyone experiences dental trauma at one time or another. It’s important to know what constitutes a dental emergency and how to handle your injury until you can get to the dentist. Here’s a look at some of the most common dental emergencies and how to respond.
Common Dental Emergencies
One of the most common dental emergencies you may face is a toothache. If you suddenly experience an unexplained toothache, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you should see a dentist for a diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, try applying a cold compress to the area and rinse with saltwater. Use over-the-counter pain relievers to help alleviate any discomfort you may be feeling.
2. Cracked or Chipped Tooth
Cracks and chips can develop in teeth when you bite down on something hard or while chewing food. Some people are more prone to cracks and chips, such as people who grind or clench their teeth. If your tooth has a crack or chip that is causing discomfort, a trip to the emergency dentist may be warranted.
3. Knocked Out Tooth
If you fell, got hit in the face, or suffered another trauma, you may have had one or more teeth knocked out. When this happens, you want to try to keep the tooth in the socket by gently biting down on it until you can get to the dentist. If the tooth is already out, preserve the tooth by storing it in a glass of milk.
4. Lost Filling
When you lose a dental filling, it leaves a hole in your tooth and possibly an exposed nerve. While you want to see your dentist as soon as possible to have the filling replaced, you may need to fill the tooth with a temporary filling to prevent discomfort. Opt for an over-the-counter dental cement or a sugar-free gum.
5. Dental Abscess
An abscess is a type of infection that develops around the tooth root or in the space between the gums and teeth. This serious condition can cause damage to the oral tissues and surrounding teeth if not promptly treated. As you wait for your appointment, you can ease the discomfort by rinsing the mouth with a mild saltwater solution.
6. Missing Dental Restoration
Both temporary and permanent dental restorations can become loose or fall out. When this happens, you will need your dentist to fix or replace the restoration. If you are experiencing pain, you can help soothe the sensitive area by dabbing on a small amount of clove oil.
7. Bleeding Gums
While mild swelling or bleeding from the gums, especially while brushing, is not necessarily an emergency, gums that will not stop bleeding do warrant a call to an emergency dentist. Swollen, bleeding gums, especially those accompanied by pain, may indicate an underlying health condition.
8. Soft Tissue Injury
When injuries occur to the soft oral tissues, such as the tongue, gums, cheeks, or lips, bleeding can occur. You can control bleeding at home by rinsing the mouth with a mild salt-water solution and then applying pressure to the area with a moistened piece of gauze for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, contact your dentist.
Treatment Options in Emergencies
Depending on the type of dental emergency you are facing, your dentist may recommend the following treatment options:
- Root Canals – A root canal can help save a natural tooth and eliminate pain and infection.
- Extractions – If a tooth cannot be saved, your dentist may recommend an extraction. Once a tooth is removed, you can choose from a variety of replacement options, such as implants, bridges, and partial dentures.
- Biopsies – If you are showing signs of oral cancer, a biopsy may be in order. An easy brush biopsy does not require an anesthetic.
The best way to avoid dental emergencies is by being proactive in your oral health routine to maintain good dental health and wellness. Along with brushing and flossing regularly, you’ll want to find a dentist and undergo checkups at least every six months. During these checkups, your dentist will check for loose fillings, signs of infection, gum disease, and other problems.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency or would like to schedule an appointment with an experienced dentist, contact the dental team at Bonham Dental Arts.