Are you concerned about sudden dental emergencies disrupting your life? You don’t have to – with the right care and precautions, most common dental emergencies can be avoided. In this article, you’ll learn how to recognize and prevent the most common dental emergencies:
Cracked or broken teeth are among the most common dental emergencies. They can be caused by an accident, such as falling and hitting your mouth or jaw, biting down on hard food or objects, grinding your teeth, and so on. The severity and type of crack will determine the best treatment option. Minor cracks may only require a filling while more severe cracks may require a root canal or even an extraction. It is important to have the crack evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth.
Dental emergencies can happen at any time with no warning. A knocked-out (avulsed) tooth is when a tooth becomes completely detached from the gums and falls out. Even though dental technology has improved, sometimes a tooth that is knocked out cannot be saved. However, there are some steps you can take to try to save your tooth:
- Pick the tooth up by the crown (the part that’s normally visible in someone’s mouth)
- Gently rinse any dirt or debris from the tooth with milk or water
- Try to push the tooth back into place if possible
- If you can’t put it back in its socket, store it in a cup of milk
Lost Fillings or Crowns
Fillings or crowns that fall out of your mouth often indicate decay below the surface of the restored tooth. Crowns are metal or ceramic covers that fit over a damaged tooth; they can last up to 10 years, while fillings are intended to remain in place forever.
If you notice your crown has fallen out or you’ve lost a filling, it’s important to seek treatment right away as this can cause additional damage and infection if left untreated.
In most cases, the best way to prevent fillings or crowns from falling out is by maintaining good oral hygiene habits. Regular visits to a qualified dentist for professional cleanings and examinations will help keep cavities from forming and check for any signs of decay below the restored area.
Abscesses and Infections
Abscesses and infections of the mouth can occur suddenly and can result in serious complications if not treated promptly. In an abscess, an area of tissue has become infected from bacteria entering it. Depending on the type of infection, various signs may appear such as pain, fever, swelling, tenderness, or discoloration in the area. In some cases, the abscess will open and be drained by itself; however, if this does not occur and symptoms are present, it is important to visit the dentist right away.
A broken jaw can be a severe and painful injury that requires urgent medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be necessary to have surgery to realign to the jaw so that it can heal correctly. In less serious cases, a splint or wire may be used to hold the jaw in place while it heals. Some common causes of a broken jaw are facial trauma, a slip and fall accident, a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, assault, or contact with a hard object.
Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injuries are common dental emergencies. Trauma to the cheeks, lips, tongue, or roof of the mouth can result in lacerations and cause significant bleeding. This can happen from either accidental injury or aggressive activities such as sports or play fighting.
Symptoms of soft tissue injury may include pain and swelling, especially if the injury has become infected. Treatment typically includes oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication if needed. In severe cases, stitching may be required to close wounds and help promote proper healing.
To prevent soft tissue injury, use protective gear when engaging in activities where trauma to the face is a potential risk and practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice per day with an antibacterial toothpaste.
A severe toothache could be the result of a deep cavity, an infection, gum disease, or trauma to the mouth. Common signs of a serious problem include persistent pain, swelling, and sensitivity to hot or cold foods that last more than several minutes. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, seek immediate attention from your dentist.
Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a painful dental emergency that can occur after the extraction of a tooth. It happens when the protective lining and blood clot fail to form over the site where the tooth was removed. Without this healing shield, food particles and bacteria can enter and quickly cause an infection.
The symptoms of dry socket can begin two to four days after a tooth extraction, possibly causing severe pain that radiates outward as well as a foul taste in the mouth or bad breath. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their dentist right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common dental emergency?
The most common dental emergency is a toothache.
How can I prevent dental emergencies?
The best way to prevent dental emergencies is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Additionally, wearing a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports or other activities can help protect your teeth.
What should I do if I experience a dental emergency?
If you experience a dental emergency, you should contact your dentist immediately. You should also take steps to reduce the pain, such as taking over-the-counter pain medications and applying a cold compress to the affected area.
The best way to manage dental emergencies is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Visit your dentist immediately if you have tooth pain, a broken or chipped tooth, or any other dental issue. Treating a dental emergency as soon as it arises can help you avoid serious problems down the line.
In addition, it is important to know how to act appropriately in case of a dental emergency so that you can be prepared for any situation. With the right knowledge and an understanding of how to prevent dental emergencies, you can take control of your oral health and keep yourself safe from unexpected problems.