Dental emergencies can occur at any time, often unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient times. Tooth pain or serious tooth damage can be incredibly unpleasant, even excruciating. Many people feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do when this happens.
It’s important to be prepared for common dental injuries so that you will have the knowledge to act quickly. We’ll look at seven common scenarios and provide advice on how to treat them. Armed with this knowledge, you can quickly stop dental pain from worsening and make sure that the chances of long-term damage are minimized.
Types of Dental Emergencies
A toothache is a common dental emergency that can range from mild and intermittent to severe and constant. It may result from a dental infection, deep decay, or trauma and can be accompanied by swelling, tenderness, sharp pain, and fever.
If you experience a toothache, contact your dentist for a same-day appointment. While you wait for your appointment, you can reduce pain by rinsing with warm salt water or holding a cold compress on the affected area until you can seek professional care. You can also take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen to reduce pain.
2. Chipped/Broken Tooth
Chipped or broken teeth are one of the most common reasons for emergency dental visits. They can occur from chewing or biting on something hard, or from facial trauma caused by an accident. When you chip or break a tooth, it’s important to handle the situation as soon as possible – even if it feels minor – because bacteria can enter into the exposed part of your tooth, which may cause further damage.
Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress over your cheek near the injured area until you are able to get dental treatment. A dentist may be able to gently smooth out any rough areas of the broken tooth and use filling material for small chips in order to restore its beauty and functionality. If the crack or chip has a sharp edge, you can cover it with sugarless gum or orthodontic wax while you wait for your appointment.
3. Abscessed Tooth
An abscessed tooth is an infection at the root of the affected tooth. If often causes severe pain in the gums due to inflammation caused by bacteria that collects between teeth or in the root canal of the tooth. A sign of an abscessed tooth is pimple-like bumps that form around a painful area, along with a foul smell or taste coming from your mouth. You may also experience pain when you brush or floss around that particular spot.
An abscessed tooth requires dental emergency treatment because if it isn’t treated promptly, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious problems like sepsis. To reduce pain symptoms before getting treatment, rinse thoroughly with warm salt water and take over-the-counter pain medication. Be sure to contact your dentist immediately if you believe you have a tooth abscess.
4. Lost Filling/Crown
If you find yourself suddenly missing one of the pieces of your dental restoration like a filling or dental crown, contact your emergency dental care provider right away, especially if you are also experiencing pain in the affected area. Your dental practitioner may be able to provide a temporary crown until a permanent one can be made.
In the meantime, be sure to avoid eating anything on the side of your mouth with the lost filling or dental crown to prevent further damage. To help stop sensitivity and alleviate discomfort, use over-the-counter pain medication and apply dental wax to the affected area.
5. Lost Tooth
Sports injuries or accidents can sometimes cause knocked-out teeth. If you have an accident that results in a dental injury, first take some time to assess the damage. If you have uncontrollable and excessive bleeding, or if you believe that you’ve broken your jaw or other facial bones, go to your nearest hospital for dental emergency treatment.
If your injury is less severe but you have a knocked-out tooth, see if you can find the tooth and either place it back in the socket or in a container of milk. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth.
To help prevent this type of injury, be sure to wear a mouth guard during any contact sports.
6. Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums after brushing could signal periodontal disease – a serious condition where an overgrowth of bacteria leads to plaque buildup that hardens into tartar on the teeth and below the soft tissues in the mouth. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease, but there are a number of dental procedures that we can use to treat the problem, ranging from scaling and root planing to oral surgery.
7. Severe Jaw Pain
Severe jaw pain can be caused by a variety of conditions. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are one of the most common causes of jaw pain and include grinding and clenching the teeth, which can cause muscle spasms in the jaws. Other potential causes of severe jaw pain include toothaches, infection, dental abscesses, fracturing or dislocation of the joints that connect your lower jaw to your temporal bone, bruxism (teeth grinding), arthritis, tumors, and wound trauma.
Mild cases may respond to home remedies like applying warm compresses or taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, more serious cases require medical treatment. If you experience severe jaw pain for an extended period of time it is best to consult with a dental professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
Some dental injuries can’t be prevented, but there are some things you can do at home to lessen the likelihood of experiencing a dental emergency:
- Take good care of your teeth in order to prevent periodontal disease. This includes daily brushing and flossing as well as regular dental appointments.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
- Don’t use your teeth to open objects and don’t chew on things that aren’t meant for eating.
- If you are experiencing bruxism (teeth grinding), contact us for treatment to prevent damage to your teeth.
Contact Mann Family Dental If You’re Experiencing a Dental Emergency
The dental care professionals at Mann Family Dental are here to assist you in the case of a dental injury or an emergency situation. If you’re experiencing sharp pain, bleeding, or if you have a cracked or broken tooth, contact us right away to schedule a same-day appointment.