Any kind of oral condition that may require immediate attention from a dental practitioner can be termed as a dental emergency. Dental emergencies require quick, professional diagnosis, and urgent care. However, it may occasionally be slightly challenging to recognize whether you or someone around you is genuinely experiencing a situation that requires emergency dental care.
Fractured teeth due to physical trauma around the mouth are one of the most common situations that qualify for emergency dentistry. A lot of conditions associated with it may be considered severe dental issues but may not necessarily be dental emergencies. It is best to know what situations require immediate dental or medical intervention.
Types of Dental Emergencies
Bad toothaches have often been described as possibly the most painful experiences of your life. If you are suffering from a toothache that does not go away even with painkillers, it may constitute a dental emergency. A severe toothache is usually a sign of more serious underlying dental problems that may become worse if not cared for. It may occur due to various reasons like an abscess that needs to be drained, or a crack that may have reached the pulp of the tooth and led to an infection.
Stronger painkillers can be tried, and rinsing your mouth with warm saline water may help too until you can see a doctor.
If an injury results in a tooth getting displaced within the socket itself without falling out, it usually counts as a dental emergency. This is because in case the root of the tooth is exposed, the cells on the surface of the root can dry out and lead to the death of the tooth.
In case of a displaced tooth, try and push the tooth back into place, holding the crown. Never hold the tooth by the root. Once the tooth is back in place, gently bite down on a clean cotton pad and seek emergency dental care.
Physical trauma can result in teeth getting knocked out of the mouth. In some cases, the tooth may chip or even crack in two or more pieces. It is essential to keep all the pieces with till you can see the dentist.
Pick up the tooth by the crown – never the root – and wash it with plain water. Do not use any disinfectant or scrub the tooth as it can damage the cells on the root that would otherwise help in its reattachment. Keep the tooth in milk till you can see the dentist. Pack the oral wound with clean cotton swabs.
Uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth can be caused by traumatic injuries and cuts or even tooth loss. After washing the wound, apply firm pressure on it with a clean cotton pad till you can see your dentist.
Where to Go in Case of a Dental Emergency?
In the instance of a dental emergency, the first step is always to call your dentist. If the emergency situation occurs during office hours, it may be possible to seek immediate dental help. Some dentists keep some slots aside in their schedule for emergency dentistry cases.
In case your dentist is not available due to it being non-office hours or weekends but can be reached on the phone, follow their instructions on what course of action to take until you can see them. If you can’t reach your dentist at all, it may be advisable to go to an emergency room for temporary intervention until you can see your dentist.