Anything that goes wrong with your teeth can feel like an emergency that needs to be dealt with quickly. After all, your teeth are a central part of your life, particularly when it comes to eating and socializing. But what exactly constitutes a dental emergency? At Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we are prepared to accommodate your needs when you need attention at an emergency dentist appointment.
Emergency Dentist: What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
So, what exactly is a dental emergency? Just like you wouldn’t go to the emergency room unless you were experiencing a severe health emergency, you also wouldn’t contact a dental office for emergency attention unless the problem with your teeth was severe. For that reason, as a rule of thumb, you only need an emergency dentist if there is severe pain, bleeding, or interference with your ability to live your life. The most common reasons to visit an emergency dentist include:
- Knocked out tooth
- Lost filling or crown
- Cracked or broken tooth
- Dislodged or loose tooth
Knocked Out Tooth
It occasionally happens that blunt force from an accident or impact can knock a tooth out of your mouth. Regardless of whether or not the tooth was loose in the first place, a tooth that is abruptly knocked out of the mouth can be cause for an immediate health concern. When a tooth is knocked out of the mouth, it can leave nerves, tissues, and blood vessels exposed.
Not only does a knocked out tooth cause distinct discomfort, but not receiving prompt attention for a knocked out tooth can also create challenges in correcting the condition. If a knocked out tooth is not promptly replaced in the mouth, then the gums and tissues may not reattach to support the tooth, which can necessitate the need for a false tooth instead.
What Should You Do?
After you contact a dentist to schedule an emergency appointment, there are some things you should do when you have a knocked out tooth. Ideally, you should pick up the tooth by the crown or the top of the tooth – please be sure to not touch the root of the tooth. If you can, placing the tooth back in the socket is ideal; if this is not possible, placing the tooth in the cheek pocket, a cup of milk, or a cup of water can prevent the tooth from drying out.
Lost Filling or Crown
Although fillings are designed to be long-term dental helpers, there are cases where fillings or crowns can fall out of the mouth. For example, a filling that was not placed correctly may become loose over time and dislodge when you are eating. Losing a filling or a crown can make it difficult to eat, particularly because sensitive parts of the tooth will be exposed to extreme temperatures and new pressure.
Furthermore, sometimes crowns or fillings fall out because the tooth beneath the filling or crown has decayed. Further decay on the tooth can also cause pain and may need further attention before a new crown or filling can be placed.
What Should You Do?
If you lose a filling or a crown, there are some things you can do at home while you are waiting for your appointment. For example, you can use clove oil or over-the-counter dental cream to alleviate pain. You can also affix the crown or filling to the tooth with dental cement bought at your local pharmacy. Please be sure to use dental cement and not dental glue.
Cracked or Broken Tooth
Cracked or broken teeth can be caused by a variety of circumstances. For example, if you have weak teeth, then your teeth may easily fracture or crack due to pressure associated with eating or grinding your teeth, which can be very painful if the crack reaches the root of the tooth. The treatment for a cracked or broken tooth will be determined by the extent of the damage.
What Should You Do?
If you have a cracked or broken tooth and you are waiting for an emergency dentist appointment, then you can take certain steps at home to self-soothe. For example, you can rinse your mouth and the tooth fragment with lukewarm water, or place gauze on the tooth for 10 minutes if there is bleeding. You may be able to minimize pain with a cold compress on the cheek, use a topical pain reliever, or take over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol.
Although a cracked tooth constitutes a dental emergency, because it may not involve surgery, it’s possible you will not be seen on the same day. Until you can be seen by a dentist, you may be able to minimize your discomfort and food limitations by covering the crack with dental cement. Please be sure to follow all directions on the packaging and refrain from eating crunchy or hard foods.
Dislodged or Loose Teeth
Teeth can become dislodged or loosened by either trauma to the mouth or dental decay. It’s possible to save loose or dislodged teeth when you receive prompt dental care. The most common treatment for this condition is to reposition and support the tooth with splints, along with other dental techniques to prevent issues in the future.
What Should You Do?
Dislodged or loose teeth can be uncomfortable, so to manage your discomfort until you see a dentist, you may want to use a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain. You can also use an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage your pain or rinse your mouth with warm water. You may want to adopt a soft food or liquid diet to avoid loosening the tooth further until you can see a dentist.
Other Conditions for Dental Emergency
Of course, there are many other things that can go wrong with your teeth that may require faster dental attention. For example, if you have an unexplained toothache that has been persisting for days or is particularly severe, you should immediately contact a dental office to be seen right away. A jaw that is severely swollen or gums that won’t stop bleeding are also cause for concern. If you have a severe abscess, you may also need emergency attention.
What About Cosmetic Emergencies?
There are also situations where cosmetic issues can mean you need to see a dentist sooner rather than later. For example, if you have chipped a tooth and the chip is cutting your mouth or lips, then you won’t want to delay treatment to smooth or correct the chipped tooth. If you have false teeth or veneers that have fallen out, you should also try to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Can Dental Emergencies Be Life-Threatening?
It may not seem like it, but a dental emergency can be life-threatening under certain circumstances. For example, if you have continued tissue bleeding that won’t stop or you have dental bleeding along with a bleeding disorder, you may be at risk of losing an unsafe amount of blood.
That said, it’s most common for a dental emergency to be life-threatening if there is an infection of the mouth. Infections in the mouth can easily get into the bloodstream and cause other health complications. If you have severe swelling, pain, or large abscesses along with your dental concern, you may be at elevated risk of an infection that can compromise your health.
What Is the Most Common Dental Emergency?
The most common dental emergency is actually a toothache. People who have unexplained or frequent toothaches may seek emergency dental attention, particularly if at-home methods are doing nothing to alleviate the discomfort. Even if you are not bleeding, the severe pain associated with a toothache can be enough to disrupt your life and make it difficult to eat. It’s always best to schedule emergency attention as soon as possible.
Schedule Time With an Emergency Dentist Today
Problems with your teeth can pose a huge issue in your daily life. When you have a condition that constitutes a dental emergency, it’s always in your best interest to seek help from a dental expert to reduce your pain and risk of infection. Some dental emergencies, like a knocked out tooth, will receive prioritized care, while some other conditions may have slightly delayed treatment based on the urgency of your condition. Contact Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL to schedule your emergency dentist appointment today.