What to Do in a Dental Emergency
Accidents do happen, and they can happen to any part of the body, including the teeth. Like other emergency cases, a problem may arise in your mouth suddenly. It could be due to biting hard on an object, fall, or something hitting you in the mouth by accident or during sports. Whatever the case, any dental problem that needs urgent attention is regarded as a dental emergency. If you experience such, it might be dangerous not to treat it instantly. But how do you know if your dental problem requires emergency treatment?
What Constitutes Dental Emergency
Most dentists only work during the conventional hour. Therefore, if you develop a dental problem after these hours, you should be able to decide whether to wait till the following morning before treatment or go straight to the emergency room. In many cases, you should be able to wait. However, in some cases, a delay can make the situation worse, if not deadly. The following are signs that you are in a dental emergency:
- A large part of your tooth or the whole tooth is out of the mouth
- Damage to the nerves
- Severe pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe crack
- Severe jaw injury
What to Do During Dental Emergency
How you respond to a dental emergency depends a lot on the cause of the crisis. The following are the common types of dental emergency and how to deal with them:
Lost Tooth: If a tooth is knocked out for any reason, the first thing is to look for the tooth and take it immediately. Be careful the way you hold the tooth. In a situation like this, it is recommended that you should hold the tooth by its crown. Then try to fix it back to its position and hold it there. However, if you cannot fix the tooth back, no problem. Try to keep the tooth alive by placing it in a glass cup of milk. Then call your dentist, and get dental treatment as soon as possible.
Broken Tooth: If you experience a broken tooth, ensure you look for the pieces as much as possible. Take every bit of the fragment that you can see and keep them for your dentist. You can place the fragment in a glass cup of milk to keep them alive. Then use warm water to clean the remaining part of the tooth in your mouth. Press the injured teeth with a cold cloth to reduce pain, and place a tea bag or dental wax around it to protect your gum. Then call your dentist immediately for an emergency.
Jaw Injury: If you have an injury in your jaw and it is severe, there might be a need for emergency treatment. Avoid shaking your face to prevent further distortion of the jawline. If you can call your dentist or a doctor, do it immediately, otherwise let someone make the call for you.
Toothache: If you have a severe toothache, it could be an indication of a tooth abscess or other critical dental problem. Tooth abscess and other oral infections might be life-threatening as they can spread to other parts of the body. The first thing is to wash your mouth with warm salty water. If there is swelling, you can apply a cold compress. Then call your dentist.
Bleeding: Bleeding of the gum, cavity, tongue or any other part of the oral cavity may call for emergency attention if it does not stop on time. First, use warm salty water to rinse your mouth. You can apply a cold compress on your cheek if there is swelling and apply pressure on the bleeding point to reduce the bleeding rate. Then call your dentist.
An Object Stuck Between Your Teeth: Sometimes, an object may stick between your teeth and cause severe pains and discomfort. Try to use flossing to remove it. If it fails, do not force it further, it would be best to call your dentist for emergency treatment.
What if Your Dentist is Not Available?
An emergency can occur at any time. If you experience a dental emergency at a time that is not the business hour of your dentist, you can still place the call. Most dentists have provisions for dental emergencies. However, if you are unable to reach your dentist and you cannot wait till the next business hour, you can visit the nearest clinic. There they will be able to give you medication to relieve the pain. They can also direct you to an available dentist. Alternatively, you can call the emergency room. This is especially if the situation is critical.
How to Avoid Dental Emergency
It is always better to prevent a bad situation than to manage it. Therefore, steps should be taken by everyone to avoid a dental emergency. Here are some actions you can take to avoid dental emergency:
Good Oral Health: Paying close attention to your oral health is the first step to prevent dental problems and emergencies. Brush your mouth regularly and floss. This will keep your gum health and your teeth strong.
Use Mouth Guard During Sports: If you are involved in a sport that can put your mouth at risk, then you can use a mouth guard to protect your mouth.
Relax Before Sleeping if You Suffer Bruxism: Bruxism involves grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. If you suffer from it, you can try to relax properly before you sleep. If that does not help you, then you may also wear a mouth guard to bed.
A dental emergency involves any dental problem that needs urgent treatment. It may be due to a fall, mouth accident, mouth injury during sports, or hard biting. Dental issues may lead to severe pain, bleeding, or jaw distortion. Common types of dental injury include loss of a tooth, tooth fracture, toothache, abscess, and other infections. If your doctor is not available for an emergency, you may visit the nearest clinic or call the emergency room.
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