It doesn’t matter how many regular dentist visits you schedule, dental emergencies happen. The important thing is to stay calm during emergency situations, verify that you don’t need comprehensive medical attention, and contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Learning how to handle dental emergencies before they occur can help you relieve pain, reduce additional painful swelling, and increase your chances of saving knocked-out teeth.
At Membersy, our goal is to ensure that all patients have access to quality dentists, whether it’s for emergency dental care or regular checkups. In this article, we will go over the most common oral health emergencies and how they occur. We will also tell you what to do in a dental emergency and give you tips to find urgent dental care.
Main Causes for Dental Emergencies
Common dental emergencies can be caused by an infinite number of reasons, including:
- Car accidents
- Contact while playing sports
- Treatment issues like a lost filling, dental implant issue or wearing of denture adhesive
- Work-related accidents
- The premature loss of a baby tooth
- Long-standing issues that can lead to problems like a root canal or gum disease
It doesn’t matter if you had a tooth knocked out, lost a filling, or experienced an injury playing contact sports, oral health issues are no joke. If you have experienced any of the issues listed above or any other dental emergencies, contact your dentist now.
How Do I Know If I Have an Actual Dental Emergency?
What is considered a dental emergency? Knowing what steps to take to reduce swelling is important, but there are some situations that require a trip to the dental office. If you have any of the symptoms or issues listed above, you may need to seek attention right away:
- Visible tooth decay
- Intense, non-stop tooth pain
- Issues with your dental implant
- A broken tooth
- A knocked-out tooth
If you are unable to reach your dentist or find a practice with availability, you can also go to a general emergency room. These facilities are equipped to provide basic assistance during a dental emergency, so you should be able to get treatment and instructions on what to do next.
What to Do in Case of a Dental Emergency
Do you know what to do for a dental emergency?
The first step can vary slightly depending on the specific type of dental emergency. For a knocked out, lost, or chipped tooth, the best thing to do is rinse your mouth and store the pieces in a moist place or a cup of milk in order to bring them to the dentist later on.
In case there’s a lot of bleeding during your dental emergency, you should go through the rinse procedure and apply clean gauze to help stop the bleeding.
Next, take a moment to review your dental plan and understand how emergency services work. Then, contact your dentist and get an appointment for the earliest possible time.
Types of Common Dental Emergencies
There are many different types of dental emergencies, some of which are more severe than others.
As we mentioned before, you need to ensure that your mouth injury doesn’t warrant a trip to a hospital emergency room. If you are experiencing intense non-stop bleeding, persistent pain beyond the normal spectrum, or loss of jaw mobility, you may need urgent care from a medical practitioner.
With that said, you need to understand the type of dental emergency in order to make the best decision. Some of the reasons you may experience dental pain or discomfort in surrounding tissue include:
General toothaches are among the most common dental emergencies. They occur for a variety of reasons and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. If there is no obvious cause for the discomfort, your best bet is to rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold pack.
If the tooth pain persists, intensifies, or spreads to one or more teeth, you should contact your dentist immediately. Professional dental practices are equipped with the tools to help diagnose the issue, so make sure to get help as soon as possible.
Cracked Tooth or Teeth
A cracked tooth can occur for a wide range of reasons, some as simple as biting a piece of hard candy. Regardless of how they occur, cracked teeth can quickly evolve into more serious problems and affect soft tissue.
There’s a strong chance you’ll experience mild to moderate swelling, so apply a cold pack to reduce inflammation and ease some of the discomforts. You should also rinse out your mouth and make sure that there is no food stuck in the crack.
Broken Tooth or Teeth
From awkward falls to blows to the face, there are many events that can cause a broken tooth. This is even more likely if you already have a cracked tooth with red flesh or dental pulp sticking out.
Broken teeth can be very painful and produce a significant amount of bleeding. You should call your dentist as soon as this happens and follow the instructions you receive carefully.
You’ll probably experience pain, but make sure to speak to your dentist before taking any antiinflammatories or analgesics. You can use a cold compress on the area to reduce the swelling and gauze to stop any bleeding.
If possible, collect the chipped pieces right away, rinse them, and place them in a glass of milk or somewhere moist. Make sure to bring these to your dentist’s office.
Loss of a Tooth or Teeth
The loss of an adult or permanent tooth requires immediate treatment, so don’t wait to find emergency dental care. If possible, find the missing tooth and rinse it without brushing. Putting it back in the tooth socket is recommended, but if this is not possible, place it in a cup of fresh milk.
If you lost your tooth due to a blow, you may also experience gum tissue damage and other mouth injuries. Patients that experience severe injuries beyond dental issues should seek urgent care from medical professionals right away.
Mouth bleeding is another common emergency that can be caused by a wide range of reasons. There are many soft tissues and membranes in the mouth, all of which contain minute blood vessels that carry a relatively large amount of blood. A chipped tooth or similar injury can cause small cuts that result in a significant amount of bleeding.
Whether you’re experiencing bleeding gums or cuts on the inside of your mouth, you should rinse your mouth thoroughly. You may also experience swelling along with mouth bleeding, especially if there is damage to the inside of the mouth. In case you experience pain or swelling in the area, you can apply firm pressure with a cold compress.
If the bleeding stops after a few rinses, take a moment to examine the area without touching it so that you understand the source of the bleeding.
Bleeding is often a sign of either dental injuries or disease, but the only way to find out the exact reason is to schedule an appointment to see your dentist right away.
Dislodged Tooth or Teeth
A dislodged tooth is often the result of blunt trauma such as contact during sports or accidents. In simple terms, this means that a tooth has moved further into or out of its socket or in any direction besides its original position.
Dislodged teeth can be extremely painful, so the first thing you’ll want to do is relieve pain as much as possible. Cold packs are usually a great alternative because they also help reduce swelling, but try to avoid taking any medication until you’ve spoken to your dentist.
A dislodged tooth can quickly become a chipped tooth and produce significant discomfort, so you need to see your dentist immediately.
Various Types of Oral Disease
Oral diseases vary tremendously, ranging from plaque buildup to gum and tooth decay. Some diseases can cause symptoms like a tooth abscess, and a pocket of pus in your tooth, which can result in more serious conditions if left untreated.
It’s important to understand that your diet, exercise regime, and other habits play a key role in preventing oral diseases. Using dental floss and adding steps like cleaning your tongue and rinsing with mouthwash to your care routine can also help reduce the chances of developing gum disease and similar conditions. But, these can occur nonetheless, so seek assistance as soon as you notice symptoms.
If you have dental disease symptoms, you can rinse your mouth with warm water to help reduce discomfort and keep the area clean. Make an appointment to see your dentist right away and make sure that you communicate the extent of the issue during the call. This will help your dentist understand the dental problems you’re experiencing and make the right preparations.
Mouth Lacerations and Injuries
Mouth lacerations or cuts may not always be viewed as a dental problem, but these can lead to gum disease and similar complications if left untreated. The problem is that cuts are relatively common in all other parts of the body, so a lot of patients forgo dental care and medical assistance altogether.
If you’ve experienced a knocked-out tooth due to a blow, there’s a strong chance you also have a cut in your mouth. The good news is that your dentist can help address both of these issues at the same time.
Tips to Help You Prevent Dental Emergencies
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of experiencing a dental emergency:
- Wear mouthguards while practicing sports
- Avoid chewing hard materials, like ice or candy
- Avoid using your teeth to cut things at all costs and opt for scissors instead
You should treat every single dental emergency with extreme caution and make sure that you receive the type of attention you need. If you want to protect your loved ones and make sure that you’re prepared for any scenario, you can learn more about the dental plans available at Membersy and how they can help you in these situations.