Some dental emergencies happen due to accidents. Others happen by neglecting proper oral care. Regardless of the reason, if you have a dental emergency, you shouldn’t wait to have it treated.
Many people wonder what is considered a dental emergency. Here are the most common types, but if you are ever concerned, you should give your dentist a call to find out what to do next.
Toothaches can cause enough discomfort to interfere with your daily life. Some may be manageable with a cold compress, but if that doesn’t help, you could have an infection from tooth decay. If you notice a swelling of your gums, it’s an urgent matter that needs to be treated immediately by an emergency dentist.
Team sports, accidents, or simple roughhousing can all lead to a knocked-out tooth. If you or someone in your family has had a tooth knocked out, grab it by the crown rather than the root. You should rinse the root if it is dirty but do not scrub. In some cases, you may be able to put it back in place though you shouldn’t shove it into the socket.
If you can’t reinsert the tooth, put it in a cup of milk or in water with a pinch of salt. Once you take these steps, get emergency dental treatment within the hour if possible.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
Your dentist will always remind you not to bite on anything hard to protect your teeth. If you accidentally bit into something that chipped or broke your tooth or endured an injury that caused a chip, you will need to see your dentist right away. Until you can get emergency dental treatment, rinse your mouth with warm water and put gauze where it’s bleeding. A cold compress can help reduce your irritation and swelling.
Lost Crown or Filling
If you have fillings or dental crowns to restore your damaged teeth, it is an urgent problem when those restorative items break. Treatment must occur quickly to avoid incurring more damage or getting an infection. Call your dentist and put a piece of sugarless gum into the empty space of the crown or filling. If you can locate the filling or crown that fell out, put it in a plastic zippered bag. If you can’t find it, your dentist will get you a new one.
Perhaps one of the most serious dental emergencies is a dental abscess. It’s an infection that occurs near the root of a tooth. It requires immediate treatment or else it can potentially spread to the other teeth and throughout the gums. This type of infection can even spread to the rest of the body. You’ll know you have a dental abscess if you see a swollen spot on your gums that resembles a pimple and causes discomfort. Use a cold compress to get relief while you call for emergency dental treatment.
Prevention Is Key for Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies are stressful situations that you’ll want to avoid at all costs. While it’s not always possible in every scenario, there are a few prevention tactics you can use to reduce the likelihood that you’ll need emergency dental care.
Wear Protective Gear During Sports
Children and adults should always wear protective gear when playing sports. Even if you’re not on a sports team, invest in a mouthguard to protect your smile. When you take a ball to the face or trip over teammates, you won’t have to worry about getting a tooth knocked out.
Watch What You Eat
Some foods, like hard candies or bony meats, can easily crack or chip a tooth. Be cautious when taking bites of food. If something seems too hard, stop trying to eat it, and don’t chew on things that aren’t edible. Those items can easily damage your teeth and cause dental woes.
Make Sure You Visit Your Dentist for Preventative Treatments
Avoiding dental emergencies through prevention is the best way to protect your teeth. You should always get regular dental checkups and cleanings twice per year. It will reduce your chance of toothaches, infections, or dental abscesses.
Don’t forget that you’re responsible for taking care of your teeth between dental visits. You should be brushing at least twice per day and flossing once per day to prevent harmful bacteria from causing damage to your teeth and gums. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, you will have more to smile about when your teeth are in excellent health.