What Is a Dental Emergency?

What is a dental emergency? By understanding what types of injuries, infections and trauma are considered dental emergencies, one can be better equipped to recognize them when they happen. This makes it easier to get the help you or a family member needs when the situation arises.

Kinds of dental emergencies

Many things can constitute a dental emergency, but it is important to know the difference between an emergency and something that can wait a few days before requiring attention from a dentist.

Identifying emergency situations

The most common types of dental emergencies are fractured, cracked, chipped, broken or knocked-out teeth, especially in cases where the tooth’s root or nerves are exposed. Painful or leaking infections in the mouth, of any variety, should also be promptly addressed. A swollen jaw, dental abscess, loose teeth, injured gum tissue and excessive pain or bleeding from the gums also requires immediate attention.

There are other dental issues that may cause discomfort or even a small amount of pain. These require a visit to a dentist within a few days but are not generally labeled as an emergency. Rather, they are ranked at a lower tier and only considered to be a dental urgency. These include toothaches, sensitive teeth, mild pain and minor fractures.

Some emergencies involve damage or problems that include the teeth or gums but also extend beyond them, such as trauma from a car accident or serious health issues. If someone is having trouble breathing, is in extreme pain or is bleeding profusely, call 911 first. Paramedics can address any urgent health needs then help get the patient to a dentist.

Taking care of the tooth on the way to the dentist

The most important thing is to stay calm. For fractures, cracks or broken teeth, save tooth fragments and rinse the mouth with a solution of salt water and a splash of hydrogen peroxide. Do not let tooth fragments dry out, so rinse them off and then immerse them in milk or saliva until reaching a dentist.

Dental wax can be applied to sharp tooth edges, compresses can be applied to reduce pain or swelling, and gauze or clean fabric can be applied to bleeding gums. Patients in pain may take ibuprofen but should avoid aspirin, as it is an anticoagulant (medicine that makes blood thinner).

Avoiding dental emergencies

Above all, the easiest way to avoid dental emergencies is to practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. A dentist will check existing cavities and crowns to make sure they are clean and secure. It can also be beneficial to avoid very hard foods and dangerous situations that could lead to falls or fights.

Need a dentist for your dental emergency?

Injuries, infections or trauma to the mouth can be considered a dental emergency. If you are experiencing pain or can see a tooth’s inner structure, contact a dentist immediately.

Request an appointment here: https://www.newyorkdentaloffice.com or call New York Dental Office at (212) 548-3261 for an appointment in our New York office.

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