Scrapes and bruises are left to heal. When you break a bone, you know to head to the emergency room. But when a sudden injury or illness happens with your teeth or gums – what do you do? Don’t panic! Most dental emergencies aren’t life-threatening. Read on to learn dental emergency tips for handling the most common issues you may face.
Common Dental Emergencies
One of the most common causes of any dental emergency are sports injuries. Whether it’s a contact or non-contact sport, impacts to the mouth are always possible. If struck directly, it’s possible for a tooth to be knocked loose or even removed from the gum completely!
There are a lot of myths surrounding how to handle an avulsed tooth: here are some real lost tooth dental emergency tips:
- Your tooth can be reattached!
- Avoid touching the lost tooth by the root.
- If it’s clean, you should try to replant the tooth in its proper position and hold it there by biting on a soft cloth or handkerchief.
- You can clean a lost tooth by running it under cold water – don’t rub or irritate the root!
- If you can’t replant it, place it in container with saliva, saline solution or milk.
You should plan to contact your dentist as soon as possible. The primary factor that determines a successful reattachment is time. The less time your tooth spends dry or detached from your gums, the more likely it is to recover properly.
When you have cavities, your dentist will clean them out and protect them with dental fillings. Over time, these fillings can reach a point where they loosen enough to be pulled out or fall out while chewing.
Don’t panic! A lost filling isn’t a major risk – given that you fix the problem sooner than later. When your filling is lost, you’ll likely begin to notice increased irritation or pain in the tooth now that the cavity has become vulnerable again.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have the filling replaced. In some extreme cases, a deeper cavity will be discovered underneath, reaching all the way to the nerves. These cases of a lost filling will require a root canal to correct. Fortunately, root canals are much easier and far less uncomfortable than you may be fearing!
Cracked or Chipped Tooth
Chipped teeth are more common than you think. A crack, while less common, can happen in just a moment. Even healthy teeth can chip or crack during an accident or by biting down on something too hard to break down.
If you chip your tooth, you may not even realize it! Minor chips can go completely unnoticed until your next dental visit. However, even if they don’t hurt, they should be fixed. The outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, helps prevent bacteria from damaging them. A chipped tooth is more vulnerable to acidity and decay.
A cracked tooth, however, can be very painful. The crack can be a small fracture to a complete crack all the way down to the root. In extreme cases, the tooth or root can completely split.
When your cracked tooth is causing you pain, it’s definitely a dental emergency. If you’re concerned that the damage to your tooth has left pieces of the tooth in your mouth, it could also need immediate attention.
The severity of your chip or crack will determine your dentist’s solution. In some cases, a simple tooth bonding solution is all that is needed. In other cases, you could need a tooth splint or a root canal.
Toothaches aren’t typically considered dental emergencies. You can often treat minor toothache pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. But if your toothache is persistent and debilitating, it’s possible the pain has a more serious cause.
Any toothache that’s so severe it prevents you from focusing on normal daily tasks likely should be investigated by a dentist as soon as possible. Causes of toothaches range dramatically – anything from a cavity to infection! Only your dentist will be able to confirm if it’s a minor issue or a major risk.
Infection or Abscessed Tooth
One of the most critical dental emergencies you could face is an infection in your mouth. Tooth abscesses are hard to miss – they’re painful, can produce pus in your mouth and will cause other symptoms like swelling or tender lymph nodes.
Infections in your mouth are potentially life-threatening. Left untreated, infections tend to spread to nearby areas. An infection in your mouth will spread to the jaws, nasal cavity or even to your brain!
If you suspect your have an infection or tooth abscess, contact your dentist or emergency services immediately. It’s better to be safe when dealing with potentially deadly bacterial conditions.
Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!
We can help make sure you and your family are brushing correctly. If you’re concerned or just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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