Unfortunately, sometimes dental emergencies happen, even to people who take excellent care of their teeth. It's good to know what to do before you ever experience a dental emergency. If you have one, you'll recognize the signs, know how to manage the situation - and know to get to an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
Examples of Dental Emergencies
There are a variety of different common dental emergencies that need to be treated as soon as possible, at either an emergency dental clinic or your regular dentist’s office if they offer emergency dentistry.
Any type of tooth trauma, such as a knocked-out tooth, chipped tooth, or fractured tooth, which includes damages to restorations, such as lost crowns, veneers, or fillings, would be a dental emergency. Patients with broken braces or brackets should see an emergency dentist right away, too.
Advanced state of tooth decay or tooth abscess or infection may require emergency tooth extraction. Emergency root canal treatments may be needed in certain situations to avoid emergency tooth extractions.
Serious gum issues and infections will also need a trip to the emergency dentist, too. Periconditis and advanced stages of gum disease can be dangerous or even life threatening and need immediate treatment.
Jaw and oral cysts, and severe oral bleeding also require emergency dental treatment.
Signs That You Need Emergency Dental Care
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, contact and visit an emergency dental clinic as soon as possible. You may need emergency dental services if you experience any of the following symptoms or situations.
Usually, with a dental emergency, patients have severe tooth pain, toothache, or pain in the gums or other soft tissues. Severe pain or sensitivity that worsens or doesn't subside should be checked out by an emergency dentist. Extreme oral or dental pain is associated with several dental emergencies, such as advanced tooth decay or gum disease, infections, or nerve issues.
You can see (and feel) if you have a broken tooth or loose or knocked out tooth, including any dental implant. You can also see if you have had trauma to other dental restorations. Excessive bleeding or swelling after a facial trauma are other signs you need emergency care.
Signs of Infection
Severe swelling, redness, and bleeding in the gums or other soft tissues are signs that emergency dental services are needed. A high fever and headache indicate you have a serious infection.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer symptoms, such as oral pain and a sore throat that doesn't go away, and difficulty swallowing should be checked out right away.
What You Can Do on Your Way to Your Dental Emergency Appointment
If your regular dentist offers emergency dental services, you may be able to get an expedited appointment; if not, contact an emergency dental clinic. While you are waiting for treatment, unless the dentist you contacted advised otherwise, there are things you can do to help yourself.
Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories will help. Salt-water rinses clean the area and reduce swelling and pain. An ice pack to relieve pain and swelling will help, too.
Knocked Out Tooth
For a whole tooth, rinse it but don't clean it. If possible, place it into an empty socket, or transport it in salt water, milk, or your saliva. Acting quickly is important, as the tooth can be saved if treated by a dentist immediately, or within one hour.
Lost Filling or Crown
Try to keep the hole clean. Dental wax can be of use, but don't use this as a substitute for getting immediate treatment. If possible, keep the filling safe, as your dentist may be able to reuse it, especially for porcelain fillings. For the crown, store it carefully until your visit.
If a piece has broken off, rinse it, but don't clean it, and place clean gauze against the broken tooth. If the tooth is fractured, try to avoid putting any further stress on it.
Use clean gauze to apply pressure for 15 minutes. A damp black tea bag can be pressed firmly against the area for another 20 minutes afterwards. If the bleeding continues, an urgent visit to the hospital or emergency dentist is necessary.
Why Is an Emergency Dentist Appointment So Urgent?
For one thing, dental emergencies are extremely painful, so the sooner that you can have relief from that, the better. It is also important to discuss treatment options and begin treatment right away, to prevent your condition from deteriorating, and possibly losing a tooth or worse.
For example, a broken tooth can lead to a serious infection, while a tooth abscess or tooth and gum infections can spread if left untreated and become life threatening.
Also, a knocked out tooth, loose tooth, or broken tooth, as well as some restorations, can be saved if treated fast enough.
Find Emergency Dental Services
Waterloo West Dentistry offers emergency dental services, so our patients can conveniently come to us, as their regular dentist, for any dental emergencies. We welcome anyone experiencing dental emergencies, offering same day appointments.
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