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EMERGENCY
DENTISTRY

Anything from persistent toothaches to unfortunate dental injuries, we’ve got your back!.

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                                                                Dental Emergencies 

Life is full of unexpected happenings; no matter how careful we are, we sometimes end up in situations that require immediate medical attention. However, like other emergencies, dental emergencies can also occur anytime, anywhere. While caution and prevention can reduce the likelihood of dental emergencies, knowing what to do in case of an emergency makes all the difference between saving or losing a tooth. In this blog, we discuss different types of dental emergencies and how to manage them timely to prevent long-term damage. 

 

Common Dental Emergencies and their Management 

Often, it becomes challenging for patients to understand whether a situation requires emergency treatment or not. Therefore, for the ease of our patients, we discuss here some common dental emergencies that must be treated immediately. 

    1. Lost Filling or Crown

Dental fillings or crowns normally do not come off that easily as they are bonded to the tooth structure. However, it can occur in some cases. If a crown is dislodged, the first thing to do is to gently try and put the crown back to its position. However, you should not apply excessive pressure if the crown cannot be seated. You may also use a temporary dental adhesive to bond the crown. After temporarily reseating the crown, avoid eating from the affected side as it may further damage the crown or the supporting tooth. 

If the crown cannot be reseated, make sure to preserve the restoration; in some cases, your dentist might be able to bond it back to the tooth. In the meantime, call your dentist for an emergency appointment. A dislodged restoration or crown should not be taken lightly; if the crown or restoration’s dislodgement results in the exposure of the underlying dentin or pulp, it can cause tooth sensitivity and even pulp inflammation if treatment is not sought in a timely manner. 

    2. Dental Infection 

While some dental swellings tend to heal themselves without intervention, others may require emergency treatment. For example, if you have a swelling that has not recovered for many days, or if there is a sudden enlargement in swelling along with symptoms such as fever, pain, and difficulty in breathing, it may indicate an underlying infection, and it must be treated by a dentist immediately. 

The treatment of the swelling depends on the underlying cause. For example, if the infection is because of a tooth abscess, your dentists will treat it by performing a root canal procedure. In extreme cases, if the infection is irreversible, your dentist may have to perform a tooth extraction to relieve the symptoms and prevent damage to the other teeth. 

     3. Severe Toothache 

If you are experiencing a severe toothache that does not subside even after taking pain medication, you should consult your dentist right away. 

  • Toothache Because of Dental Cavities  - In most cases, an uncontrolled toothache is because of an underlying infection or tooth decay. However, if you are experiencing a constant toothache, your dentist will take an x-ray image of the tooth. If the pain is because of a dental cavity exposing the underlying sensitive tissues, your dentist will place a suitable tooth-colored filling over it to alleviate the symptoms. 

  • Something Stuck Between the Teeth - sometimes, a toothache can occur when something is stuck between two teeth. In this case, you should gently rinse the mouth with warm water and use floss to remove the stuck object. If flossing is not successful, call your dentist for further instructions. It is not advisable to put aspirin directly over the aching tooth or swollen gums; it will do more harm than good. 

    4. Cracked or Chipped Tooth 

If you or a loved one has a cracked or a chipped tooth, you should seek immediate dental treatment - even if you don’t feel any pain. This is because sometimes, the crack extends into the sensitive tissues of the teeth, dentine, and pulp. Even if the cracked tooth is not causing tooth sensitivity or pain, there are chances that the exposed dental tissues may get infected, leading to a dental abscess. 

In some cases, dentists can restore the cracked or chipped teeth by placing a suitable filling and reinforcing them with a crown. However, if a crack extends below the gum line, the tooth cannot be saved. In these cases, your oral surgeon will extract the broken tooth and replace it with an implant-supported crown. 

If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, the American Dental Association recommends immediately rinsing the mouth with warm water and placing a clean cloth over it to prevent pain and swelling. Afterward, you should call your dentist immediately to book an emergency appointment. 

     5. Knocked-out Tooth 

Did you know that knocked-out permanent teeth can be saved? Yes, it is possible, provided you bring the knocked-out tooth to your dentist without delay. If you have a knocked-out tooth, hold it by its crown and gently rinse in water to remove debris. Afterward, try to insert it back into its socket. 

If you cannot reinsert the tooth, don’t apply excessive pressure as it may damage the tooth’s socket. The next option is to preserve the tooth while you wait to see your dentist. To do that, place the tooth inside a milk-containing jar. You can also use an ADA-recommended tooth preservation product, if available. If nothing is available, you should put the tooth between your cheeks; the saliva is also an excellent preserving medium for a tooth.   

Once you have preserved the tooth, call your dentist for an emergency dental appointment. 

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies?

While it may not be possible to prevent dental emergencies completely, prevention is the key to reducing their likelihood. For example, if your children are involved in contact sports, they should wear mouthguards to protect their teeth and gums from injury. Similarly, teeth should only be used for eating and not as tools for cutting your nails or opening beer bottles.

Many dental emergencies can also be prevented if one visits their dentist regularly for checkups. For example, during a routine checkup appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for underlying issues. If they find a developing infection or abscess, they will treat it before it can turn into a dental emergency. 

If you or a loved one is having a dental emergency - whether a toothache or knocked-out tooth - Dream Smile Dental has got your back! So, don’t wait! call or text our office at (516)-344-5692 and let us take care of the problem right away!