What are Dental Emergencies?
There are numerous dental concerns, some of which require immediate attention while others can wait. Dental issues that require immediate dental treatment to prevent serious oral health damage or avoid tooth loss are considered dental emergencies. Dental emergencies are very common occurrences. Research suggests that nearly 22 percent of the population has experienced dental pain in the previous six months, indicating that dental emergencies are very common.
There are several indicators that your dental issue is an emergency that needs immediate attention. Severe pain, bleeding, tooth loss, loose teeth, infection, abscess, swelling, and oral bleeding are generally obvious indicators that you have a dental emergency, and you need to consult your dentist immediately. You need to seek immediate emergency dental treatments by consulting your emergency dentist. While treatment for toothaches, sensitivity, and soars can be delayed, dental emergencies cannot wait.
How To Handle Certain Dental Emergencies
Let us have a look at some common dental emergencies and how they should be dealt with at home.
A Chipped or Cracked Tooth
A painless chipped tooth does not require any immediate treatment but if you are suffering from a serious fracture or painful cracked tooth, it is considered a dental emergency. When a tooth cracks or fractures, serious damage has been done to the inside of the tooth as well. In certain extreme situations, it may not be possible to save the tooth even after immediate dental treatment.
When faced with a dental emergency involving a chipped or cracked tooth, the first thing to do is call your dentist for an emergency appointment and you can also consider some dental insurance plans for immediate results. Once that is done, clean your mouth thoroughly with warm water and use a cold compress on the affected area if the cause of damage was facial trauma. If pain is unbearable, take acetaminophen to reduce pain. It is not recommended to take aspirin. It is strictly advised against using a painkiller on the gum directly because it can cause severe tissue burn and damage.
When you reach your dentist, an X-ray will be conducted to assess the extent of damage and diagnose the condition. Your dentist will recommend a root canal if the tooth pulp has been damaged. If no such internal damage is seen, a crown replacement will suffice.
Facial Pain or Tissue Injury Inside the Mouth
An injury inside the mouth is also considered a dental emergency. Puncture wounds, tears, lacerations, on the mouth, cheek, tongue, or lips demand immediate attention. If you experience any such oral injury, clean the area with warm water. In case of bleeding from the tongue, pull the tongue forward, and use gauze on the site of injury to apply gentle pressure. Acetaminophen is recommended to alleviate facial pain. Do not use ibuprofen or aspirin since they are anticoagulants that can lead to excessive bleeding from oral injuries.
Once you have dealt with the immediate threat, visit your dental surgeon or the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
Out-of-Alignment or Loose Tooth
In case of a loose tooth or a tooth out of alignment, you must immediately book an appointment with your dentist for emergency treatment. Once you have informed your dentist, realign the tooth in its original position by applying slight pressure with your finger. Trying to force it into its original position can make matters worse and should be avoided. Once it has been repositioned, hold it in place by biting down on it until you reach your dentist. The dentist will stabilize the tooth in position by splinting it to the adjacent teeth. Inability to realign the tooth in time can lead to complications.
A knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency that requires urgent treatment. Unless appropriate emergency steps are taken following the emergency, the dentist will not be able to recover the knocked-out tooth. In order to reinsert and preserve the tooth, correct procedures must be followed to avoid creating complications.
When faced with such a dental emergency, hold up the tooth by the crown and rinse it gently with water. Avoid touching the roots of the tooth to prevent any unintentional damage to the gum. Remember not to scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue. As a precaution, also place a washcloth on the drain of the sink so that the tooth is not lost. If possible, hold the tooth in its socket and keep it there by biting down on it. If you are unable to replace the tooth in its socket, keep it in a container or in a cup of milk. Storing the tooth in milk is the preferable choice. It is essential to consult your dentist immediately in order to save the tooth. The tooth does not remain viable if it is kept out of the socket for long so if the tooth remains out of its socket for long, it might not be possible to restore and re-implant it.
Measures That Should be Taken to Avoid Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies are not difficult to avoid if you conduct routine checkups with your local dentist to maintain good oral and dental hygiene. These checkups can help prevent tooth decay and ensure healthy teeth and gums. Additionally, it is advised to wear a mouthguard when playing games that include the risk of injuries. It can prevent teeth from being fractured, broken, or chipped. Chewing on hard things or on ice incurs the risk of teeth being chipped so these habits should also be avoided. Get a complete dental checkup before you leave for a long trip where you may not be able to seek dental care in a timely manner. A checkup prior to departure can indicate any loose crowns, loose teeth, decay, or other problems, and thereby minimize the risk of dental emergencies happening at a later date.
Be Prepared for a Dental or Oral Emergency
A dental first aid kit can ensure that necessary steps are taken in case of a dental emergency and reduce the risk of complications. Your dental aid kit should include a small container, contact information for your dentist, acetaminophen, gauze, and a handkerchief. You should know about dental health because it is better to be safe than sorry so be prepared for any dental emergency in order to avoid serious negative oral health impacts.