A dental emergency can be a painful and frightening experience. Most people are scared and unsure about what to do. Having an emergency dentist ensures that you receive prompt and reliable dental care when a dental emergency strikes. In this article, let’s learn what dental emergency consists of and how you can handle them effectively.
What is a Dental Emergency?
According to the ADA, a dental emergency is any oral condition that is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate dental care. Serious symptoms like severe pain often accompany a dental emergency, swelling, bleeding, difficulty breathing, and fever.
For instance, uncontrollable bleeding from a fall or sports or car accidents should prompt you to seek emergency dentistry. While some conditions might not be life-threatening, they may cause unbearable discomfort and symptoms that require immediate care to manage.
Common signs and symptoms that your condition might need emergency dental care include:
- Severe tooth pain from dental trauma, severe decay, or impacted tooth
- Severe oral pain after dental surgery, tooth extraction, or other procedures
- Dental abscesses. A painful pimple filled with Pus and commonly accompanied by bad breath or taste and fever.
- Severe pain or swelling from objects trapped between teeth or under the gums
- Severe dental injuries like chips, fractures, and breaks
- Severe soft tissue injuries
- Lost or damaged dental restoration that causes severe pain or swelling or poses a danger to your gums, cheeks, and mouth.
- Knocked out tooth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Uncontrolled bleeding gums
- Swollen gums and face
When You Don’t Need Emergency Dental Care
Certain dental conditions may be serious, but you can wait until the dental office opens to seek treatment. These situations include:
- Lost or damaged restorations like fillings, bridges, or crowns that don’t cause severe symptoms or don’t pose a danger to your oral tissues
- Minor tooth damage like breaks, cracks, and chips (unless they cause severe pain, bleeding, or swelling)
- Mild pain from food trapped between teeth
- Mild tooth pain or sensitivity
- Sore, sensitive, or red gums
While these issues may not require urgent dental care, you should still get them treated. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more likely they will progress, leading to severe and long-term complications. Some might cause the need for emergency dentistry. While you can wait for a few hours or days, you must see or contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Causes of Dental Emergencies
Various conditions and situations can lead to dental emergencies, including:
- Severe tooth decay
- Advanced gum disease
- Old dental restorations
- TMJ and other jaw disorders
- Car or sports accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Falls during normal activities
- Biting on something hard
- Chewing ice, pens, and nails
- Using your teeth to open packages and cut things
What to do During a Dental Emergency?
Do you think your condition or symptoms require emergency dental care? The first step should be to call your dentist. The dentist can help manage your symptoms until you find the right care. If they can’t help you, they will likely refer you to an emergency dentist or clinic near you.
If the problem occurs outside business hours and your dentist isn’t accessible, call an emergency dentist or clinic near you or visit an emergency room.
As you wait for professional care, below are a few ways to manage your symptoms:
- An object trapped between teeth: If the pain is caused by something trapped between teeth, try brushing and flossing your teeth to remove the food.
- Severe tooth pain: Use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. Also, a cold compress on the cheek against the painful area can help minimize pain.
- Badly chipped, broken, or fractured teeth: Rinse any broken pieces of your tooth and mouth with warm water. If there’s bleeding, place a gauze pad until it stops. A cold compress on the cheek against the damaged tooth can help relieve pain and swelling.
- Knocked-out tooth: If your tooth has fallen off, gently rinse it with water and try to put it back in the socket. If it’s impossible, preserve the tooth in a clean glass of milk or water. The sooner you see a dentist, the better the chance of restoring the tooth to the socket.
- Dental abscess: An abscess often indicates an infection. Use painkillers to manage pain. Also, rinse your mouth a few times daily with a mild saltwater solution.
- Lost or damaged restorations: Take medication and use a cold compress to manage pain, sensitivity, or swelling. Preserve the damaged parts of the restoration and take them to the dentist. You can protect the exposed areas of the tooth with sugar-free gum or dental cement.
- Soft tissue injuries: Injuries can cause bleeding, pain, or swelling to the mouth’s soft tissues, like the gums, cheeks, tongue, and lips. To control these symptoms: use a gauze pad to manage bleeding, a cold compress to manage pain and swelling, and rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution.
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Are you looking for Emergency Dentistry in Wellesley, MA? Contact Wellesley Dental Arts for more information.