When a dental emergency strikes, fast action is key. Just like any other type of medical emergency, if you’re prepared ahead of time, you can minimize potential injury and cost of treatment. Protect your smile and overall oral health, and be prepared for a dental emergency if and when one occurs:
Traumatic Dental Injuries
A common dental emergency that requires fast action is when a permanent tooth is knocked out. When you act fast, you increase the changes that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out, gently pick the tooth up while avoiding the root of the tooth, and wash it off with water. Place the tooth back in its socket facing the correct way, and hold it in with gentle pressure as you make your way to the emergency room. If you can’t place the tooth back in its socket immediately, tuck it between the patient’s cheek and gum, or carry it in a container filled with cold milk.
Treatment needs to occur within six hours when a tooth is moved or loosened. If there is uncontrollable bleeding, make your way to the emergency room. The good news is that the vast majority of dental injuries are not this severe, and mainly consist of chipped or cracked teeth. For chipped teeth, pick up any pieces that you can, as there is a chance that they can be reattached. Make an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible, and get in for treatment.
Not only can tooth pain be very distracting from everyday life, but it’s also a clear sign that you need to get in to see your dentist. Tooth pain is most commonly caused by tooth decay, which, when left untreated, can develop into gum disease. Tooth pain can often indicate that a root canal treatment is necessary – this involves removing the infected root of the tooth, eliminating the need to extract the tooth. Loose fillings can also cause tooth pain and sensitivity, however, the only way to know the cause fo your tooth pain for certain is to get in and see your dentist.
Any injury affecting the gums should be considered an emergency treatment. Accidental bites, falls, sports injuries, and burning hot liquids can wreak havoc on your gum tissue, and abscesses can form when foreign particulates mind their way into your gum line. All of these are considered dental emergencies, and should be followed with an emergency appointment with your dentist.
Soft tissue injuries can be temporarily treated by rinsing with dilute salt water, and by clearing any visible debris. Any excessive bleeding should be treated with a warm, damp towel being placed on the injury with pressure for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to get in to see your dentist as soon as possible to avoid any more serious complications.
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