Dental Emergencies 101: Common Types And How To Handle Them
In your lifetime, you’ll have visited your dentist severally. Dental issues range from minor to major, with other dental concerns being more common than others. Based on some of them frequently occurring, how then will you know which one’s an emergency and which one isn’t? It is now where this article will come in to help you identify the critical ones that require the immediate attention of your dentist. Besides outlining these issues, this piece will also direct you on how to handle them before going for your appointment. You must know what to do and what not to do so that the situation will not worsen. Read on to find more about this!
Some of the common dental emergencies are:
Toothaches are pretty common among all. More often than not, they’re treatable at home. However, this problem often becomes an emergency when it causes extreme pain or when your mouth starts to swell. Toothaches indicate an underlying problem, mainly tooth decay, and cavities.
Before visiting your family dental health practitioner, you can alleviate the pain. What you can do is rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any food debris stuck in your mouth and between your teeth. If there’s any swelling, apply a cold press outside your mouth or cheeks in proximity to the area experiencing pain. Please refrain from using any aspirin on the affected area. The pain reliever is an anti-coagulant. It might harm the soft tissues of your mouth, such as the gums.
2. Broken Tooth
Tooth breaking occurs when you bite something hard, causing your tooth to break. It is a dental emergency since, with a chipped tooth, bacteria may find their way to your tooth pulp, causing an infection.
In case of a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to get away with any dirt and debris. If there’s bleeding, press a clean gauze against the broken tooth for approximately eight minutes or until the bleeding stops. To prevent or reduce swelling, hold a cold cloth against the inflammation and gently apply pressure.
It’s also advisable to bring with you the broken parts as you go to see your doctor. Re-attachment might be a possibility.
3. Knocked-Out Tooth
Teeth coming out might be due to trauma to your face or mouth, mainly due to a fight or fall.
Once your tooth falls out, find it if possible and rinse it off with water. Refrain from holding the tooth from its roots; use the crown instead.
Rinse your mouth and tooth with water and see if you can put it back in its place. If you’re finding it challenging, avoid force-pressing it. Remove it and store it in an area with moisture, such as a container with milk, salty water, or a dental preservative.
In doing this, rush to see your dentist with the tooth at hand within the hour of the incident. Why? It’s believed that a tooth can be put back into its place if attended to as fast as possible.
Also, it’s good to note that you should avoid scrubbing the fallen tooth with any fabric as you rinse it off.
4. Partially Dislodged Tooth
It refers to a tooth that has left its socket, but not entirely. The number one thing to note is that you shouldn’t remove it or fit it back. In the process, you might end up damaging tissue that your dentist can utilize to fix it back.
A partially dislodged tooth is often associated with excruciating pain. But worry not; all you have to do is take a pain reliever before visiting your dentist. To prevent the possibility of swelling, apply a cold press.
5. Lost Filling
A tooth filling is fitted in your tooth during a cosmetic dentistry procedure to deal with cavities and tooth gaps.
A hole will be left on the gap if you lose a filling. Such a gap could bring about further complications if not handled immediately.
To prevent the possibility of infection before you go to your dentist, stick a piece of gum in the hole, preferably a sugarless one. Alternatively, use dental cement that you can purchase from your local drug store. By doing this, you’re also preventing the entry of any materials into the hole that could cause further damage.
Also, it’s good practice to avoid taking hot or cold drinks before the issue is dealt with to prevent sensitivity and pain.
6. Lost Crown
Crowns are fitted to your teeth to deal with an underlying issue, such as badly-shaped teeth. Part of this cosmetic procedure often involves the removal of the enamel for proper fixing. With the partial removal of such vital components, the loss of the crown fitted over makes the tooth vulnerable to damage or infection. It makes it a dental emergency.
The first step is rinsing it off with plain water to remove any dirt on its surface and within it. As part of a safety precaution, you should try and put it back where it belonged. Before the fixture, apply toothpaste, dental cement, or adhesive to your tooth. It will allow for adhesion with the crown. But avoid using superglue in place of the adhesives mentioned above.
To deal with pain before you get to your dentist’s office, gently apply a small amount of clove oil over the affected tooth using a cotton swab.
7. Broken Braces
A dentist will put braces on your teeth to align them. It can be on the front surface or at the back of your teeth. Most of these are made of metal wire, with some from plastic. It would be difficult to deal with a broken wire from your braces lodged in the soft tissue of your cheeks or gum. Besides damaging the tissue, it’s painful and uncomfortable.
If the wire hasn’t stuck into any soft tissue but is sticking out, try gently flattening it using a soft item. Rough and hard pressure might damage your teeth. If you’re unable to flatten it, place a cotton ball or gauze at the end of the wire and see your dentist.
However, in no case should you try to cut the wire.
An abscess is usually a sign of an infection. It presents itself as inflammation of your gums, with the possibility of there being a painful swelling or pimple. There may be isolated cases of bad breath. It is a dental emergency since if the infection is not dealt with accordingly in its initial stages, it could spread to the rest of your body, including your bloodstream. An untreated abscess could lead to a disease called sepsis, toxifying your body. It often leads to death.
When such symptoms present themselves, promptly visit your doctor. To help alleviate the condition, rinse your mouth with a mild water solution several times a day.
9. Soft Tissue Injury
As previously stated, the soft tissues in your mouth are your gums, lips, cheeks, and tongue. Once in a while, they get injured when you accidentally bite into them, or you suffer facial trauma. Soft tissue injuries are often self-manageable; they become dental emergencies when bleeding doesn’t stop and if there’s any swelling.
If there’s a bleed, rinse your mouth with a mild warm water solution. Alternatively, press a wet gauze against the injury for ten minutes to reduce the bleeding. If this doesn’t stop the bleeding, visit your dentist to have it addressed. Failure to might lead to the loss of much blood that can be detrimental to your overall health.
For pain management, press a cold item against the injury.
10. Wisdom Tooth Inflammation
It presents itself in adults as their wisdom teeth develop. It is always associated with extreme pain, as reported by most patients. The growth of wisdom teeth involves teeth shifting in the mouth. The shifting occurs since there is always barely any room for their development. Due to the lack of space, the tooth emerges halfway, which damages the soft tissue around the wisdom tooth. It becomes the source of infection.
Even though it’s a natural process, visit your dentist for further diagnosis and treatment. For some, removal of the growing tooth is often the solution.
To alleviate the pain, regularly perform cold presses to the source of the pain from the outside.
11. Mouth Sores
Mouth sores, as the name suggests, present themselves as swollen lesions on your gum or the inner part of your cheeks. Beyond the sores, they also occur as swellings on your gum or mouth.
To manage these sores, regularly rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide. Take care not to swallow this solution. If they don’t heal in a week or two, visit your dentist. It could be a sign of an underlying condition, such as gingivitis or advanced cancer.
12. Broken Jaw
A broken jaw might occur from trauma to the face from a fall or accident.
It might be challenging to determine if your jaw is broken. If you’re experiencing pain along your jaw, there’s swelling, your teeth don’t fit in together, or you’re finding it difficult to close your mouth, visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Before you get to the dentist, avoid moving your jaw as much as possible. Consider trying a cloth beneath your jaw and above your head to keep it in place. Take a pain reliever to help with the pain.
Please don’t try aligning it on your own; it might affect the future alignment of your teeth.
13. Popped Jaw
A popped jaw mainly results from a fall or opening your mouth too loud, especially when yawning. It’s always a result of a disconnection of the joints in your jaw. It emits a ‘pop’ sound, hence its name.
Popped jaws become a dental emergency if the part becomes stiff and swells. Pain isn’t always a common symptom. It depends on the extent of the injury.
When there’s swelling, immediately call your dentist and book an appointment. To help manage the symptoms and prevent further damage, minimize jaw movement as much as possible. For the swelling, place an ice pack over the jaw for 15 minutes, several times in an hour. You can take over-the-counter drugs to help relieve any pain you might be experiencing.
14. Swollen Jaws Or Mouth
Waking up to a swollen mouth can be nerve-wracking and quite worrying, especially if there’s no underlying issue.
When this happens, you need to visit your dentist promptly. It could be a sign of infection or an issue with your lymph nodes.
To try and alleviate the swelling, apply cold compresses to your jaw.
15. Exposed Nerves
The nerves of your mouth are covered by tissue to reduce their sensitivity to the daily activity of your mouth. However, if you can see a part of your tooth root from the gum and are experiencing extreme pain, you need to go to your dentist. You’ll often feel pain when you breathe through the mouth.
Exposed nerves are a sign of possible infection or gum disease. Consider chewing a piece of sugarless gum and sticking it on the exposed part bringing about the pain as you go to your doctor. With less exposure to the atmosphere, the pain will reduce.
As seen, the above are the common types of dental issues you experience daily. The extent of damage or the associated side-effects makes them turn into dental emergencies. However, it’s good to point out that you can avoid most of these situations through simple practices. Ensure you practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them regularly.
Also, develop the habit of going in for dental check-ups often, maybe once or twice a year. By doing this, your dentist will identify any possible issue and treat it in advance before it becomes a problem. To help deal with dental emergencies due to falls, always put on a mouth guard if you’re engaging in sporting activities. A chipped tooth might not be a significant issue, but for sure, the falling out of a majority of your teeth will be a tragedy. Prevention is better than cure.