Although there are no emergency dental shows like there are emergency medical shows, this doesn’t mean that dental emergencies don’t happen. In fact, they can happen just as unexpectedly as medical emergencies. And when they do happen, you will want to be able to recognize them so you can get the care that you need. While dental emergencies are rarely life-threatening, they still require prompt treatment for the best outcome. Here are some of the five most common dental emergencies that you should be aware of:
Knocked Out Tooth
A tooth that has been forcefully knocked out during an accident is considered a dental emergency and should be treated immediately. First, you will want to locate the missing tooth and stop any bleeding by biting down on folded gauze. Once you locate the missing tooth, be careful to handle it by the crown and not the root. If possible, you will want to rinse the tooth with water and try to stick it back into the socket. Otherwise you will need to store the tooth in a small container filled with milk, water, or saliva. It is important to prevent the tooth from drying out.
Even if the tooth hasn’t been completely knocked out of the socket, if your tooth has become loose as a result of an accident, this is also considered a dental emergency. For loose teeth, you will want to gently bite down on the tooth in order to hold it in place until you can get to your dentist’s office.
Sometimes your teeth can become damaged and can chip or crack. Although the causes of chips and cracks can vary, many occur as a result of accidents, biting down on something hard, using the teeth as tools, and from teeth grinding or clenching. Chips and cracks can both be serious if not treated immediately, especially if they are deep enough to allow bacteria to enter the inside of your tooth. If your tooth chips, try and locate any tooth fragments to bring to your appointment. As with missing teeth, you will need to keep these fragments moist.
Misplaced Dental Restoration
Although dental restorations are designed to last for several years, there are cases where they may become damaged or fall out before the end of their lifespan. When this happens, you will need to schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately to have the restoration replaced. Just like a damaged tooth, a compromised tooth without a restoration is at risk for becoming infected if bacteria enter the inside. In some cases, you may be able to temporarily hold the restoration in place using gum or polident.
Severe Tooth Pain
Tooth pain that comes on suddenly, gets progressively worse, or is severe is considered a dental emergency because it can mean a pulp infection. When suffering from tooth pain, you should first floss between each tooth to make sure that lodged debris is not the cause of your pain. If the pain continues, then you will need to call your dentist. In the meantime, you can apply an ice pack to help relieve the pain.
When to go to the emergency room:
- If you have undergone a blow to the face and have a possible concussion
- If you cannot open your jaw and suspect a fracture
- You have soft tissue damage that is bleeding profusely
Dr. Mark and Dr. Gina Covington are committed to providing their patients with the highest level of care. Both doctors are members of the Academy of General Dentistry as well as the American Dental Association. Locally, both belong to the Western Piedmont Dental society and the Foothills Dental Continuum. Because dentistry is a dynamic field, continued education is a paramount concern. Both Dr. Mark and Dr. Gina have completed several hundred hours of continued education to become proficient in the science and placement of dental implants. This course of study has allowed them to become Fellows of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.