Emergency dental care is a critical aspect of dental health that requires immediate attention to alleviate pain, prevent further damage, and, sometimes, save a tooth. Understanding what constitutes a dental emergency and how to handle different scenarios is vital for maintaining oral health. This article aims to provide essential information on recognizing dental emergencies and the appropriate steps to take in such situations.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency can be any situation involving the teeth, gums, or jaw that requires urgent care. Common dental emergencies include:
Severe Toothache: This can indicate an abscess or infection. Rinse the mouth with warm water, gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between teeth, and avoid putting painkillers directly against the gums near the aching tooth, as this could burn the gum tissue.
Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Teeth: Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Apply a cold compress to the face to reduce swelling. Save any broken tooth fragments and bring them to the dentist.
Knocked-Out Tooth: Retrieve the tooth, holding it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth) and rinse the root in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place, ensuring it’s facing the right way. If that’s not possible, place it in a small container of milk or a cup of water with a pinch of salt.
Lost Filling or Crown: For a lost filling, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity or use over-the-counter dental cement. If a crown falls off, save the crown and try to slip it back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive to help hold the crown in place.
Abscess: These are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. They can even lead to more serious infections if left untreated.
Soft-Tissue Injuries: Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution, and use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site.
When to Seek Emergency Dental Care
If you experience severe pain, bleeding, or have a tooth knocked out, it’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as possible. Many dental offices offer emergency services or can refer you to an emergency dentist.
While not all dental emergencies can be avoided, regular check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene can reduce the risk. Wearing a mouthguard during sports, avoiding hard foods that can crack your teeth, and not using your teeth to cut or open things can also help prevent dental injuries.
At Royal Dental Care, we are open for emergencies 7 days a week at most of our 5 locations at Parramatta, Narellan, Eastwood, Bella Vista and Lindfield. You can call or book your appointment online to ensure you are looked after as soon as possible.