- by Dr. Ravneet Dhillon
- September 16, 2022
What is a Dental Emergency?
Everyone can at some point in time experience a situation that might seem like a dental emergency.
It is important to understand the difference between an urgent and a non-urgent dental emergency. This can go a long way in saving the tooth.
Dental Emergency is any oral health issue that compels immediate dental treatment to:
- Save a tooth
- Stop continuous bleeding
- Relieve severe pain
- Treat Cellulitis or soft tissue infection and swelling that can affect breathing
- Take care of Trauma to the facial bones
An emergency appointment with the dental specialist at Morgan Hill Dentistry in such a situation can help to curtail the risk of permanent damage including tooth loss or comprehensive tooth repairs later.
It helps to keep in mind that pain is a signal that the body sends for a reason. One must never ignore painful teeth and gums and seek emergency treatment as soon as possible.
In this blog, we will discuss a few examples of urgent and non-urgent dental emergencies and the steps that can be taken till one reaches our office.
What is an Urgent Dental Emergency?
Severe dental pain or laceration of gums, cheeks, or tongue qualifies as an urgent dental emergency.
A few examples of dental emergencies that require immediate attention include:
- An unbearable toothache caused by pulpal inflammation
- Chipped, broken, or cracked teeth
- Knocked-out tooth
- Partially dislodged tooth
- Swelling of gums (dental abscess)
- Loose tooth
- Third-molar pain
- Tooth fractures that cause pain or soft tissue trauma
- Post-surgery complications such as dry socket
- Lost or broken temporary restoration or a restoration that irritates the gum tissue
Prompt action and seeking medical treatment as soon as possible can help you avoid the need for dental restorations in the future.
What Should One Do During Dental Emergencies?
Any dental emergency can be best treated by a competent emergency dentist. Call Morgan Hill Dentistry and fix up an emergency appointment if such a situation arises.
We will make our best possible effort to rearrange our schedule and see you as soon as possible. However, it always helps to be aware of managing the situation until you can be seen by the dentist.
There are some steps one can follow at home for a few common dental emergencies till you reach us.
However, if the situation is drastically severe and you can’t wait for assistance, you must go to the nearest emergency room.
Toothaches are usually caused by food caught between teeth so flossing and swishing with warm water can help to remove debris and alleviate mild toothaches, sometimes.
However one must schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist if the pain doesn’t lessen. Dental specialists may be able to restore the tooth with a filling or crown in case of a cavity. The sooner one acts, the less invasive the treatment would be.
A gum abscess should never be squeezed like a pimple. One should schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist so that the abscess can be drained. Scaling and root planing, a root canal, or even tooth extraction may be recommended depending on the extent of infection.
It helps to remember that a gum abscess does not go away on its own and its timely treatment is extremely important. While you wait for your emergency appointment, rinsing with a mild saltwater solution can ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface.
Our gums, jawbone tissue, and other teeth contribute to supporting the tooth, thus many factors can cause a tooth to loosen.
The tooth can become loose due to receding gums, bone loss in the jaw, or prior tooth loss. Being struck in the face can also cause a tooth to become loose.
However, in some instances seeing an emergency dentist is the only way to know the underlying cause of a loose tooth. Remember a prompt action can save your tooth.
Receiving emergency dental care within 30 minutes of knocking out a tooth is extremely important. Remember to pick up the tooth by the crown and not the roots to avoid damaging the roots.
Any damage to the roots will make it impossible for the dentist to put the tooth back in its socket.
Carefully rinse any dirt or debris from the tooth and try to place it back in your pocket or hold it into place with your fingers or by gently biting down.
If unable to place the tooth back in the mouth, wrap the tooth in clean gauze and submerge in milk as the natural teeth also dry out and crack just like the dentures, if not kept moist.
Broken, Cracked, or Chipped Tooth
A broken, cracked or chipped tooth is a dental emergency needing prompt attention. One must contact a 24-hour emergency dentist like Morgan Hill Dentistry as soon as possible. Try to save all pieces of the broken or cracked tooth.
Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to your cheek to reduce pain and swelling till your appointment is scheduled.
It is important to mention here that contrary to a common belief, putting crushed aspirin on your tooth can damage your gums and enamel.
What are Non-Urgent Dental Emergencies?
A non-urgent dental emergency is a situation where you are able to schedule your dentist appointment during normal office hours.
Some Non-urgent dental emergencies include-
A lost Filling, Crown, or Bridge
Losing a dental filling, crown, or bridge can be pretty alarming. However, this isn’t an urgent dental emergency, and one can wait to see the dentist at the next available appointment. However, one must try to retain any filling, crown, or bridge and bring it along to the dentist’s office.
A dull toothache can be easily resolved with over-the-counter pain medication, like Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and does not require immediate care. However, if the pain does not subside with the medication, worsens, or lasts for more than a few days, one must see the dentist immediately.
Smaller Chips & Cracks Without Severe Pain
Small chips and cracks can be caused by biting into something hard, chewing something chewy like gum, or grinding the teeth at night while asleep. This is no reason to panic and you can wait for the next available appointment to get the issue treated.
A Word from Our Experts
Every oral health issue is not an urgent dental emergency but it is always better to be safe than sorry. You must still contact us at Morgan Hill Dentistry even if you feel you have a non-urgent dental situation and not infer it on your own.
Our dentists will ask you some questions to determine whether you need help immediately or not. In case we feel that your situation is not urgent, we will advise you to wait until the next business day to get treatment, and advise you about what to do meanwhile.
However, if our dentist feels that you need to be seen right away, then they will give you instructions to be followed for the best outcome and our team will make the best possible effort to schedule your appointment immediately.
Always remember that quick action is often what saves a tooth from an expensive dental restoration or extraction. The sooner you reach emergency dental care, the sooner you will be able to get relief from the pain and prevent permanent damage to teeth and gums.
In case you are undergoing a dental problem and are not sure about what to do, just give us a call. Our team is here to help and counsel you!