What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?

dental emergency

When faced with a dental emergency, it is important that you know exactly what to do next. A dental emergency can occur from almost anywhere, and its instant impact can contribute to significant oral health issues. 

Therefore, being prepared for its eventuality is important whilst being aware of the common types of dental emergencies. They can be stressful to deal with, but learning about them means you can take short-term actions to keep you as comfortable as possible if you can’t get an appointment with the dentist straight away.

What Is A Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is considered one of more of the following:

  • Severe toothache
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Excessive bleeding from the gums 
  • Signs of a dental abscess
  • Signs of an infection
  • Knocked out tooth

For all dental emergencies, you need to contact the dentist as soon as possible for an emergency appointment. Although, it is important that you understand what short-term steps are when dealing with a dental emergency if you can’t get an appointment quickly.

What Should I Do With My Knocked-Out Tooth?

If your tooth has been knocked out suddenly, you need to retrieve the tooth and hold it by the crown. Rinse it softly and if the tooth cannot be put back in its socket, place it in a lukewarm container with milk to keep it moist. This ensures that any bacteria don’t form on it. Take it with you to the dentist at your appointment.

I Am Bleeding Excessively, What Should I Do?

You will naturally experience bleeding when a tooth has been knocked out. To stem its flow, apply a gauze pad against the affected gum so that you squeeze the blood out of the wound. Eventually, the blood will dry itself out. 

My Tooth Is Cracked, What Should I Do?

The dentist may consider extracting the tooth if the crack is severe, meaning it’s snapped in half, or the tooth is considered ‘dead’ owing to it being infected. Moderate fractures where the tooth can be saved would be performed with root canal treatment. Any minor fractures can be smoothed over with composite bonding treatment.

A cracked tooth can cause swelling and the danger of bacteria penetrating the gums if the root is exposed. If you’re waiting for a dentist appointment, apply a cold compress against the affected area to reduce any swelling, and take extra care of the cracked tooth when brushing your teeth.

I’m Suffering From a Severe Toothache, What Should I Do?

The cause of toothache can be a multitude of things, and it’s difficult to assess its root cause without a visit to the dentist. In the interim, there are certain steps you can take in reducing the pain.

  • Perform a saltwater rinse by swishing it around your mouth
  • Take over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
  • Apply a cold compress against the swelled area 
  • Dab clove oil on a cotton ball against the affected tooth and gum area
  • Rinse a solution of hydrogen peroxide and spit out

When you have a dental emergency, these remedies should be considered to limit any pain, but also if you cannot get a dental emergency appointment in time. Some practices offer out of hours emergency services as well. Ensure any missing teeth are taken with you at the practice so the dentist can examine them and determine if they can be reused.

If you have a dental emergency, consult your dentist straight away for an emergency appointment. Your oral health will be in safe hands.

by Dr Johnson Tang

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