Dental emergencies are much more common than people think. Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide what is an actual dental emergency and what to do about it. Common dental issues include severe pain, significant bleeding, or the loss of a tooth, but there are many situations that require emergency dentistry.
Whether it is due to a sports injury or another trauma, the loss of a tooth is a significant emergency. There is a narrow time frame to get to a dentist in order to save your tooth. If you are able to get you and your tooth to the dentist within an hour, there is a high chance that your tooth will be successfully re-implanted.
If you do lose your tooth, be sure to grab it by the crown (the white part) and not by the root. Touching the root could damage the small nerves in your tooth, which could impact the tooth’s ability to reattach.
Holding it by the crown, gently rinse the tooth in cool water without scrubbing it. If you are able, put the tooth back into its socket—do not force it in!
You can also place the tooth in between your gum and cheek. Your saliva will help keep it moist and alive. An alternative suggestion is to place your tooth in a glass of milk. This will buy you time to get to a dentist.
If you are experiencing severe pain in any of your teeth or in your jaw, you should seek medical attention. Pain, swelling, or fever are indicators of a much larger issue that could potentially be life-threatening if left untreated.
Common causes of severe pain could be dental caries (cavities), an infection, or an abscessed tooth—a pocket of pus that forms around the root of a tooth caused by a bacterial infection.
All infections in the mouth should be considered serious. Untreated infections can spread to other areas, including the airway, bloodstream, or brain, which can be fatal.
Soft Tissue Injuries
If you are experiencing heavy bleeding from your mouth, you should consider going to the dentist. This can occur due to trauma at the mouth or issues with your gums that can cause them to ache
Bites or cuts to the tongue, lips, or cheeks may be cause enough to see your dentist, especially if they cause enough pain or bleeding. An untreated wound in your mouth could cause an infection
If you are experiencing swelling coupled with bleeding, use a cool compress to reduce inflammation and slow or stop the bleeding after you rinse the area with cool water.
Broken Teeth or Crowns
A number of foods or activities can cause a tooth to break or fracture. Much like a missing tooth, it is important to quickly seek out medical attention.
For a cracked or broken tooth, use warm water to rinse the mouth and then apply a cold compress to the area for swelling. If you are able to collect your broken tooth fragments, place them in a cup of milk as you make your way to the dentist.
Treat a broken or missing crown with caution as it leaves your tooth open to potential infection. A damaged crown makes the tooth vulnerable to further harm as well. You should schedule an emergency dental appointment as quickly as possible to avoid a root canal or a total extraction.