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What is dental emergency?

Feb 18, 2022Dentures, Oral health

What is dental emergency?

A dental emergency is something that happens suddenly or with great urgency while you are taking care of your teeth. It might cause pain, have the potential to injure you further, or create an infection in your mouth. Some examples of a dental emergency include:

  • A toothache
  • Jaw pain
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods or drinks
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Loose crowns
  • Cracked fillings
  • Fractured jaws

If you have any of these symptoms it is important not to ignore them. If untreated they may get worse and lead to more serious problems, such as tooth loss, damage to the bone of your jaw, infections in the gums, and tooth decay. If you have a dental emergency, go to your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will look at the problem and decide on a treatment plan for you. In most cases, they will be able to help relieve the pain and fix the problem right away.

In addition, if your wisdom teeth become impacted, this is also considered a dental emergency because it could lead to complications such as swelling, infection, or damage to neighboring teeth or soft tissues in the mouth.

What you need to know about dental emergencies

dental emergency

  • Without treatment, many dental emergencies can lead to other long-term problems. You should always consult your dentist for advice on the best course of action if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your teeth.
  • It is not necessary to make an emergency appointment if you have a small issue with your smile that needs addressing right away. Instead, you should be able to book an appointment later that same week with your regular dentist. However, if the problem continues after visiting them, then it might be time to seek out emergency services.
  • A toothache can sometimes result from another underlying problem such as decay or gum disease. Because decay only develops over time, it cannot cause immediate pain so this means it is important to go see your dentist or dental hygienist in order to get it checked out.
  • If you have a chipped tooth, your regular dentist should be able to fix this for you within a few weeks. They will need to do extra work such as adding a veneer if the damage is severe so it may take longer than usual. However, there are emergency dental services that can help you with minor chip repairs if needed.

Things you should do in a dental emergency

If you experience a dental emergency, you should consult your dentist. The method for how to treat your specific problem will depend on what the actual issue is. However, there are some common steps that all dentists will take in order to help alleviate discomfort and correct the problem.

  • Your dentist might prescribe painkillers so you can feel more comfortable while they look at your teeth. They may also give you antibiotics if it looks like an infection has started in your gums or jawbone.
  • If part of a tooth breaks off, they can put in temporary fillings until it heals back together again. Sometimes extractions are necessary but this depends on how much of the root of the tooth is left intact after breaking off. Most broken teeth are just polished down to smooth away the jagged edges.
  • If an abscess or infection has formed, your dentist might need to drain it before they can perform any other steps. This may be done by flushing out the affected area with water or numbing it with injections. They may also need to inform your general dentist about the problem so they can prescribe antibiotics for you, or inform your health care provider if you have a medical condition that requires specific treatment plans.

Top 5 ways to avoid dental emergencies at home

dental emergency

  1. To help prevent dental emergencies from happening in the future, make sure you brush and floss your teeth every day. Also, visit your dentist regularly for checkups and to get plaque removed with a dental cleaning. This is important because most tooth problems start out small but they only get worse over time if left untreated.
  2. Regularly using fluoride toothpaste can also be helpful for strengthening teeth against decay. However, if you have any sensitive teeth issues, there are many fluoride-free options available so it might be worth trying these instead.
  3. If you are experiencing pain then it may be best not to use any abrasive cleaners that are strong enough to cause discomfort on your gums or inside of your mouth. For example, if you have a cut inside your cheek and it is very painful to wipe away the blood with a piece of tissue paper, then using a toothbrush might be too intense at this time. In this case, just try to limit any germ transfer as much as possible until the pain goes away.
  4. If you do not have access to dental services near you or cannot afford specialist charges, then there are ways for you to perform first aid on yourself. For example, putting some ice on swollen gum areas should help reduce inflammation and numb any pain. However if it doesn’t get better after trying this technique several times over 24 hours, it might be worth going in for professional treatment instead. This is because your issue might be more serious than expected.
  5. If you have an abscess then you will need to see your dentist right away because this is a serious problem that can lead to further health issues. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection over time but if they do, make sure you finish taking all of them even when you feel better.

Is root canal a dental emergency?

Yes, a root canal can be a dental emergency. If you have an infection inside your tooth that cannot be cured using antibiotics or drained by the dentist, then a root canal might be necessary to save your tooth. There are some risks involved with this procedure but they are relatively low if done under sterile conditions and in a professional setting such as at a dental office.

However, it is possible for complications to happen before treatment begins too. For example, your tooth might need to be properly numbed through injections before teeth whitening procedures can even begin because of how sensitive they become when infected. It might also mean that the dentist will not use any water or air syringe (called jet) systems near the area until after the painkillers start taking effect because of how sensitive your teeth and gums can become.

During treatment, you might also need to have temporary stitches placed on the inside of your mouth so that it is properly closed after the procedure is finished. This helps reduce the chances of saliva leakage or blood flowing down your throat when you are eating. It will usually fall out without any help within a week or two but until then you should avoid rinsing with water for at least 48 hours afterward instead.

If a root canal is not done correctly, there is a chance that it could result in more serious problems along with your tooth being more sensitive than before. This includes pain spreading to other areas of your face or neck if nerves have been affected by damage to surrounding gum tissues.

Wrapping up

In summary, dental emergencies can happen to anyone at a moment’s notice. They can be painful and cause you to worry about your overall health so it is best not to ignore them if they do appear.

In some cases, dental problems may even turn out to be life-threatening which is why being proactive in terms of your oral health care. This is always the best option whenever there are issues that could potentially involve pain or bleeding.

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