Brushing and flossing your teeth daily helps you fend off dental health problems. Plaque, tooth decay, and cavities are all things you prevent bit by bit with the help of your trusted local dentist. Although most dental issues can be prevented this way, there is the occasional exception.
A dental health emergency can strike quickly as the result of trauma, like an accidental blow to the head. Or, it could happen because of an underlying dental health condition that has not gotten care, causing it to worsen. Some conditions may be asymptomatic until they reach a critical point.
Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to act on dental emergencies quickly.
What Makes Something a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is a problem affecting teeth, gums, tongue, or other mouth structures that demands immediate help. The emergency is a situation so serious it will not go away on its own and the sufferer cannot manage the condition for longer than it takes to seek immediate aid.
An untreated emergency can have severe – even life-threatening – consequences.
It’s not always obvious what is and isn’t a dental emergency. Some conditions that might seem to be emergencies are not as serious as they first appear. If you can wait 2-3 days for a regular dental appointment to address your concern, it isn’t an emergency.
How Can You Recognize a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies come in many shapes and forms. They may happen after a certain event, such as a sports accident that leaves you with a broken tooth. Or, they may begin suddenly for no clear reason, often with bleeding or pain in the mouth.
When deciding if something is an emergency, consider these factors:
- If you’re in severe pain – whether sudden or from a defined source
- If you have lost a tooth – prompt treatment can generally restore a lost tooth to the mouth
- If you have a loose tooth – adults should never lose teeth as it is a very serious issue
- If there is swelling or discoloration in the gums/face, which hints that you may have a severe infection
- If you’re bleeding – all but the most minor and transient bleeding is an emergency
What Are the Most Common Types of Dental Emergency?
Lost (Knocked Out) Tooth
Your dentist may be able to reinsert your tooth if you act quickly after an accident. Hold the lost tooth by the crown and gently rinse it off without scrubbing. Preserve it in a smaller container of milk. Getting to the dentist within two hours greatly improves your chance of saving the tooth.
Chipped or Cracked Tooth
Teeth can become chipped or cracked with little warning simply by biting down “wrong.” If the fracture is painful or looks severe, clean your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress on the outside of the face to control swelling. Acetaminophen is the safest choice for pain relief.
An abscess is a potentially life-threatening condition that indicates an infection deep within the tooth. It presents as a telltale “pimple” on the gums below an infected tooth along with fever, tooth sensitivity, toothache, swelling in the face, and tender lymph nodes in the neck.
Choose a Dentist You Can Trust to Handle Emergencies
Seconds count in a true dental emergency. It’s a good idea to research an emergency dentist who offers 24-hour service long before a problem arises.
Central Avenue Dental’s experienced and courteous staff provides the highest quality of service in a dental emergency. Contact us today.