Dental emergencies are not fun. They can be scary, painful, and frustrating. They can also be a serious matter, and they often come as a surprise. That’s why it is important to be prepared for them before you have one occur. In today’s blog post we are going to discuss the five most common dental emergencies and what to do if you find yourself in that situation.
Toothaches can have a variety of causes, but all toothaches have one thing in common: they are a sign that something is wrong. If you feel pain in your tooth, you can try flossing around the tooth to remove anything that may be lodged in between two teeth. If that doesn’t alleviate the pain, then there may be another issue that warrants an emergency dental appointment. While waiting for your appointment, you can use ice packs and salt water rinses to alleviate discomfort. For a salt water rinse, simply mix half a teaspoon of salt with 8 oz of warm water.
2) Chipped or Cracked Teeth
In some cases, tooth pain may be due to a chipped or cracked tooth. Teeth can chip or crack as a result of facial impact, by biting down on something hard, or from bruxism. When a tooth chips, you should locate and store any missing pieces of the tooth in milk or water. If the chip is small, or the crack is only in the enamel, then you may not require dental treatment. However, if the chip is large or the crack goes deep into the tooth, you will need to see a dentist as soon as possible to prevent bacteria from entering the inside of the tooth. In some cases, a cracked tooth may not be painful until it becomes infected. If you are experiencing pain, swelling, or fever along with your crackled tooth, then you have an infection and need to see a dentist immediately.
3) Loose teeth
Healthy teeth are firmly held in place by the surrounding gum tissue. When a tooth suddenly becomes loose, usually due to trauma or infection, it is considered a dental emergency and should be evaluated by a dental professional as soon as possible. Until your appointment, you may keep a loose tooth in place by gently biting down on it to prevent it from becoming looser.
4) Knocked Out Teeth
If you have had one or more teeth knocked completely out of the socket, you will need to see your dentist immediately. You can attempt to place the tooth back into its socket, but you should only do this if it has been rinsed clean. You will also need to avoid handling the tooth by its roots, as this can lead to infection. In cases where the tooth socket is bleeding, you will need to control the bleeding by firmly biting down on folded gauze or a teabag. In situations where the tooth cannot be returned to its socket, you will need to prevent the tooth by drying out. The best way to do this is to store it in your mouth between the cheek and gum, or in a small container filled with milk or water.
5) Missing or Damaged Dental Restorations
The final dental emergency that is commonly seen is dental restorations that have either fallen out or become damaged. This can include crowns, dentures, or even fillings. When a restoration becomes loose or falls out, this can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and cause an infection. As such, you should always consult your dentist immediately to have the restoration replaced. In the meantime, you may be able to temporarily hold the restoration in place using gum or polident.
Dental emergencies are common, but there’s no need to panic. You have now learned how to identify the most common dental emergencies and what to do if you find yourself in that situation. If you are experiencing any of these common dental emergencies, call Glow Dental now for an emergency dental appointment.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.