Common Dental Emergencies
Accidents and emergencies often happen when you are least prepared for them, meaning that panic and distress can quickly overwhelm you, particularly if you are the one that is directly affected. Whether you are the patient or merely a witness, understanding some of the most common dental emergencies and what to do when they occur can help you to take control of the situation and keep panic at bay. It can also make the difference between a temporary, repairable injury and the permanent loss of the affected teeth.
To help you be as prepared as you can be, here is our guide to the most common dental emergencies and what you should do should one occur.
Knocked Out Tooth
One of the most commonly seen dental emergencies is a knocked-out tooth. This most often happens as the result of an injury to the face, such as a fall or other sudden impact, and can be very painful. There may also appear to be a lot of blood, but it is important to remember that bleeding in the mouth often seems worse than it truly is as the blood becomes mixed with saliva.
If you have had a tooth knocked out, it may be possible to restore it, although this largely depends on how quickly you can get yourself and your tooth to our dentist. If you can, find the missing tooth. Then, holding it by the enamel, place it in a clean container. Avoid touching the root if you can, as this will make it harder to re-implant into your gum and make the restorative process less likely to be successful.
Although our teeth are pretty tough and durable, one of the most frequently seen dental emergencies is a cracked tooth. Although not as severe as losing a tooth, a crack can leave you with severe pain, bleeding and swelling, and should be treated as a dental emergency.
The first thing to do is to deal with the bleeding. Rinse your mouth out with warm water until the water is clear, and then place a cold compress against the affected part of your mouth to reduce swelling and inflammation. This will also help reduce your discomfort. Once you arrive at our emergency dentist, you will likely be given some stronger pain relief, and recommended for an emergency dental crown.
As a warm, moist environment, our mouths provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Dental infections are a common occurrence, and in some instances, can appear without warning. Many infections are accompanied by pus-filled abscesses, extreme pain, and in some cases, a fever and other debilitating symptoms.
It is very important to treat infections as quickly as possible, before it can spread beyond the oral cavity and into other parts of the body, including the vital organs. The treatment you will be given will depend on the extent of the infection, but could include antibiotics and a procedure known as a periodontal pocket clean. If you believe you have an infection and are in severe pain, make an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible.
Often a patient will find themselves experiencing agonizing toothache, but without really understanding what is causing it. Tooth pain is regularly cited as one of the worst types of discomfort possible to experience, and it is often so bad that they only way to alleviate it is to get emergency dental treatment.
If you are in agony with toothache, our emergency dentist will almost certainly need to examine you to determine the cause. However, some of the most common causes of toothache requiring emergency care include:
- Lost cavity fillings
- Problems with dental implants
- Broken dental device such as orthodontic brace or dental bridge
- Periodontal disease
- Impacted teeth
If you are experiencing severe toothache, you should try several methods to reduce your pain before contacting our emergency dentist. These include:
- Taking pain medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Alternating hot and cold compresses against the affected area
- Rinse your mouth out regularly with salt water. This can loosen any particles of trapped food, reduce inflammation and is a natural disinfectant
- Apply clove oil to the affected tooth, or chew a clove of fresh garlic. Garlic can kill harmful bacteria as well as acting as a form of pain relief, and clove is a natural antiseptic that can reduce pain and inflammation
While these represent just some of the dental emergencies most commonly seen by U.S. dentists, there are many situations which may appear to be a dental emergency. If you are in any doubt about whether you need to be seen right away or not, contact us and speak to our normal or out-of-hours dentist for further advice.