What To Do In Case Of A Dental Emergency

woman icing her face because of a severe tooth ache

Dental emergencies can cause a lot of pain, discomfort, and swelling to the affected individual. Additionally, they can even lead to more significant issues down the road if not treated as soon as possible.

But what is considered a dental emergency? And when should you seek emergency dental care right away? Here is your guide to dental emergencies and how you can prevent them.

What Is A Dental Emergency?

Dental problems can vary in size, scope, and severity. Dental emergencies are different from some other dental problems as they often require immediate attention.

If you want to determine whether you require emergency dental care, you can ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. Are you in severe pain? A severe toothache or intense gum pain can be signs of an emergency.
  2. Have you lost a tooth? Did you knock out or chip a tooth? Do you have multiple broken teeth? You should see your dentist immediately.
  3. Do you have loose teeth? Adults should never have loose teeth. If you experience loose teeth, you should go to your dentist’s office.
  4. Do you have an infection? An abscess or serious infection in your mouth can be potentially life-threatening, and treatment should not be left untreated.
  5. Are you bleeding from the mouth? This is a potential sign of an emergency.
Most Common Dental Emergencies and How To Deal With Them

If you’re still unsure about what constitutes a dental emergency, here are some of the most common dental emergencies and some tips on how to handle the situation if it arises.

Knocked-out Tooth

If you have a knocked-out tooth, the first thing you’ll want to do is try and find it. You should determine whether you’ve accidentally swallowed it or if it is on the ground around you. Finding the knocked-out tooth can help with the treatment process. If you are able to find your tooth, the safest action is to clean it without touching the tooth root and place it in some sort of container with some cold milk in it. Milk will help preserve the tooth and can increase the chance of reattachment. 

Some other dentists may recommend that you place the tooth back in its socket and apply pressure to the tooth by lightly biting it down. Regardless of which transportation method you use, it’s recommended that you get to an emergency dental clinic within an hour of the tooth being knocked out.

Once you arrive, the attending emergency dentist will be able to assess the damage and determine the best emergency dental treatment option.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

Chips and cracks in your teeth can happen at any time and can be caused by anything from hard candy to a kick in the face. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, it’s recommended that you call your dentist as soon as possible and plan to go to an emergency dental clinic.

When you notice the chip or crack, rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a small cotton ball to the site of the bleeding. Then, apply a cold compress to the outside of your face to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Tooth Abscess

Young woman having toothache, sitting in a dental chair at the clinic. Female patient with terrible toothache visiting dentist

An abscessed tooth can lead to tooth pain, tooth decay, and severe infection. An abscess should definitely be taken seriously as, if left uncared for, it can lead to further tooth decay, gum disease, and an infection that could spread to the rest of the body. In case of a dental emergency like an abscess, call a dentist for emergency treatment right away and rinse your mouth with a mild water solution.

Dislodged Crown or Dental Implant

Crowns and fillings can be used to prevent tooth decay in the surrounding teeth or further damage after a tooth extraction. If you lose a crown or filling, it could lead to more tooth loss or other oral health issues. Because of this, losing a crown or filling is definitely considered a dental problem that needs emergency care. However, a lost filling may not require immediate professional attention as you may be able to hold the filling in place with orthodontic wax until you are able to see a dentist.

Preventing A Dental Emergency

To prevent infection, a chipped or broken tooth, damage to the gum tissue, or other dental emergencies, there are a few things you can do. A few of these things include avoiding playing sports without a mouthguard, avoiding roughhousing, avoiding chewing hard foods, chewing sugarless gum, and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine with regular checkups and cleanings.

Orchard Park Dental

Do you have a chipped tooth, abscess, or another dental emergency? Call our office today at Orchard Park Dental to see how we can help you.


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