How to Tell if it’s a Dental Emergency

How to Tell if it’s a Dental Emergency

Dec 01, 2020

Your dentist should be the first person to call when you encounter a dental problem. But, what about if a dental problem occurs during a holiday, on a weekend, or at night hours?

If you experience a severe dental problem outside the working office hours, then the right professional to consult is an emergency dentist. You will need to visit an emergency room for treatment.

Not all dental problems, however, are considered dental emergencies. If you can treat the threat remotely from home through first aid methods and can wait till morning, then there’s no need for an emergency dentist.

Diagnosing Dental Emergencies

American Family Physician estimates that dental emergencies have been recorded for about 22% of people in the past 6 months. This shows just how prevalent dental emergencies are.

Still, not all dental situations are considered dental emergencies. If you want to know whether or not you need to visit an emergency room, consider these questions.

  • Is there severe pain or bleeding? These are signs of a dental emergency.
  • Did you lose a tooth? Fast treatment can save a lost tooth.
  • Are any of your teeth loose? Adults shouldn’t have loose teeth. A loose tooth regardless of whether there is pain may indicate a serious problem.
  • Do you suspect an infection? Abscesses and infections are potentially life-threatening and should prompt immediate treatment. Signs of infection include swelling on your gums, and around the face.

Generally, emergency dentistry seeks to stop bleeding, prevent severe pain, or save a lost tooth. Broken or lost tooth. If you notice any of the above symptoms, you need emergency attention.

What Is Not Considered A Dental Emergency

When your problem can wait for the next couple of days to see a dentist, it’s not a dental emergency. At times, issues that seem life-threatening can wait a few days as long as you apply the right first aid.

A chipped or fractured tooth, for example, can be a dental emergency if it causes severe pain, bleeding, or has left sharp traumatic fragments in your mouth. Nevertheless, if your chipped tooth doesn’t cause any pain, you can wait till the next day for your dentist.

Toothaches are also considered an emergency if the pain is severe and there is a presence of abscesses and facial swellings and bumps. If you don’t have such symptoms, painkillers can help you hold on till the nearest dental office opens.

If you lost a crown on the weekend or during a trip, you can wait till you get home to see your family dentist. If you so wish, use a denture adhesive to fix the crown back in place till you visit a dentist.

Temporarily sticking a sugar-free gum inside the cavity can also come in handy to salvage a lost filling.

What Are the Common Dental Emergencies

Below are some dental emergencies frequently reported to emergency rooms.

Knocked-Out Tooth

Restorative Dentistry has procedures they can use to re-insert a bashed-out tooth back and save it.

After losing a tooth, carefully pick it up by the crown (avoid touching the root), rinse in milk or saline water, and secure it safely. If possible, you can try reinserting it into the socket. Quickly get to a dentist to raise the odds of saving the tooth.

Fractured or Chipped Tooth

Thoroughly rinse your mouth using warm water if the fracture is intense and causes severe pain. To reduce the swelling, apply a cold compress from the outside of the face. Do not use painkillers or numbing gel as it can worsen the damage. Susan J. Curley DDS recommends acetaminophen as the best medication.

Abscessed Tooth

This is a severe possibly life-threatening condition where a pus-filled pocket on the gums causes an infection. Tooth abscesses can lead to fever, extra tooth sensitivity, persistent toothache, facial swelling, and tendering of lymph nodes in the neck. You can also notice a bump on the gums next to the infected tooth.

An abscess is an emergency condition that can spread the infection into the jaw and surrounding tissues, and possibly to other body parts. As a first aid before visiting a dentist, rinse your mouth using mild saltwater severally to minimize pain and draw the pus outwards.

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