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12 Dental Emergency Types: What to do, Prevention and Treatment

Beautiful girl sitting in the dentist's office

Dental emergencies are situations involving the teeth, gums, or surrounding tissues that require immediate attention. Recognising them helps save your teeth, prevent potential infections, and alleviate significant discomfort.

Seeking professional dental care promptly in such situations cannot be stressed enough. Delaying treatment can worsen the problem, leading to more extensive and costly interventions later on. Therefore, if you encounter what you suspect might be a dental emergency, your quick response can make a difference in safeguarding your oral health and overall well-being.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency refers to any situation involving the teeth, gums, or mouth that requires immediate attention from a dental professional. This can include sudden and severe toothache, a knocked-out tooth, a broken tooth, or injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. Infections and abscesses, which can lead to significant pain and swelling, also fall under the category of dental emergencies.

What are the Types of Dental Emergencies?

The types of dental emergencies can be mild or severe.Both categories involve dental trauma or injury that needs immediate treatment. Some types of dental emergencies can wait, depending on their type.

Knocked-out tooth

A knocked-out tooth can be due to various incidents such as falls, accidents, sports injuries, or fights. These incidents impact the mouth area, leading to the tooth being dislodged and damaging the surrounding tissues and bones.

It’s crucial to seek immediate dental care within 30 minutes to have the chance of saving the tooth.

Broken or Chipped tooth

A chipped or broken tooth might occur from everyday activities like eating hard foods. Falls or accidents, where an impact is sustained to the face or mouth, also often lead to chipped teeth.

Minor chips in the tooth might not seem alarming, but severe fractures that expose the tooth root or nerve demand urgent attention. These fractures might involve severe pain, bleeding, or even parts of the tooth breaking off entirely.

Abscess

A dental abscess is a pocket filled with pus due to an infection in the tooth or gum caused by bacteria. It leads to intense pain, swelling, and sometimes even fever, indicating that quick action is necessary.

Toothache

Senior woman with medical problems

A severe toothache manifests as a throbbing or constant pain that may be localised or radiated to other areas of the jaw and face. It can indicate tooth abscess, gum infection, or advanced tooth decay.

Lost Filling or Crown

Sometimes, fillings or crowns can fall out due to decay, wear and tear, or even trauma. This exposes the tooth to bacteria and increases the risk of infection and further damage. It’s essential to seek an emergency dental appointment at the dental office to replace the filling or crown and prevent any complications.

Swelling

Swelling gum tissue

Swollen gums might indicate a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontitis, which is more severe. Seek a dentist’s evaluation to diagnose the cause of swollen gums accurately and commence appropriate treatment.

Injury to the Jaw or Mouth 

Injuries to the jaw or mouth can arise from falls, accidents, or sports injuries. A sudden impact to the jaw or mouth can lead to fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries.

Even if there is no visible damage to the teeth, you need to seek immediate medical attention for diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term damage and promote faster recovery. A jaw injury can lead to severe complications like misaligned teeth, difficulty in chewing, and chronic pain if not promptly treated.

Dry Socket

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, happens when a blood clot of a tooth extraction fails to develop properly, dislodges, or dissolves before the wound has adequately healed. This exposes the nerves and bone, leading to intense pain and potential infection.

Excessive bleeding after a tooth extraction

It’s normal to experience some bleeding after a tooth extraction, and in most cases, this will subside over a few hours as the blood begins to clot. However, if the bleeding is excessive and does not decrease or stop after a prolonged period, it requires immediate attention.

Excessive bleeding can be caused by disruption of the blood clot or an underlying medical condition that affects blood clotting. Seek emergency dental appointments to prevent further complications, such as infection or significant blood loss, ensuring the healing process can proceed smoothly.

Object lodged in teeth

When an object becomes lodged in the teeth, it can be both uncomfortable and potentially harmful if not appropriately addressed. Seek immediate attention from a dentist for a professional intervention that can prevent further harm to the tooth or gums and ensure the safe removal of the obstruction.

Broken orthodontics

Broken Braces

Broken orthodontics, such as braces or retainers, can cause discomfort and potentially disrupt the alignment process of your teeth. This situation can arise from eating hard foods, sustaining an injury, or general wear and tear. When a bracket or wire breaks, it can lead to irritation of the mouth’s soft tissues and may even create a risk of infection if not promptly addressed.

Contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to schedule a dental visit and fix the broken appliance to maintain comfort and prevent additional damage.

Severe soft tissue injury

Biting the tongue or cheeks, falls or accidents, dental procedures, and accidental cuts from sharp objects are common causes of severe soft tissue injuries, which lead to significant bleeding, swelling, and discomfort, requiring you to seek dental treatment.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency?

In the event you experience any of the above-mentioned, it is important to seek emergency dental care to address the pain and prevent complications. You may call for emergency dental services, an emergency dentist, or visit an emergency dental clinic for urgent care.

At CASA Dental, guidance is provided, and urgent appointments are arranged during dental emergencies. Located in the heart of the city, we priorities prompt and effective care to address all your worries and restore your optimal oral health.

Treatment and Management of the Injuries

Effective treatment and management of dental injuries are crucial to ensure the long-term health and functionality of the teeth and structures surrounding the teeth. Here are some common treatments for both severe and mild dental injuries:

  • Dental Fillings and Dental Bonding: These dental restoration procedures repair minor fractures and cavities. Dental fillings use restorative material to fill in caries-affected areas, while dental bonding uses resin to address small chips or cracks.
  • Root Canal TherapyRoot canal treatment preserves the natural tooth and alleviates pain by removing the affected pulp, cleaning it, and filling it to prevent further infection.
  • Tooth Extraction: Tooth extraction involves the removal of the tooth from its socket in the jawbone when it is irreparably damaged, severely decayed, or causing crowding issues.
  • Splinting (for loose teeth): Splinting stabilises loose teeth by attaching them to the adjacent stable teeth using a flexible splint, allowing the periodontal ligaments and other supporting structures to heal and strengthen.
  • Surgery (for jaw fractures): Severe dental injuries may need surgical intervention to reposition the bone fragments and fix them in place with plates and screws.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

Happy young woman holds glass of fresh mouthwash and electtic toothbrush winks eye undergoes hygiene routines wears spectacles and casual shirt isolated over pink background Oral care concept

Other than seeking emergency dental care, there are some effective preventive measures to avoid these from happening:

  • Regular Checkups: Schedule dental checkups and cleanings every six months to catch any potential issues early before they become serious problems.
  • Proper Brushing and Flossing: Brush your teeth at least twice and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth. These prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Protective Measures (Mouthguards): Use a mouthguard if you engage in sports or other activities to protect your teeth from impact and prevent broken teeth, jaw injuries, and other dental emergencies.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet that supports dental health, such as calcium and vitamin D. 

When Should I Call My Dentist?

If you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding gums, or from the mouth and a knocked-out tooth, contact your dentist immediately. Additionally, a tooth abscess or swelling in the mouth that obstructs breathing or swallowing requires urgent attention.

In these cases, your dentist can provide critical instructions on what to do next, including whether you need to visit the clinic immediately or follow specific care steps at home.

What questions should I ask my dentist?

Medical nurse examining patient in paing writing dental problem on clipboard while sitting in dental hospital office

When experiencing dental trauma, it is crucial to ask your dentist the right questions to understand the extent of your injury and the available treatment options. Here are some common questions you should consider asking:

  • What treatment options are available to repair the damage?
  • How serious is my injury?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • Will you be able to save my tooth?
  • What are the potential risks or complications with the treatment?
  • Will I need to see a specialist for my injury?
  • What can I do to manage pain and discomfort in the meantime?
  • How long will it take for my mouth to heal after the treatment?
  • Are there any long-term effects I should be aware of?
  • What can I do to prevent further dental injuries in the future?

Conclusions

Recognising and addressing dental emergencies promptly preserves oral health and prevents further complications. Fast intervention can make a significant difference in outcomes, reducing pain and saving teeth that might otherwise be lost. Preventive dental care also maintains optimal oral health and reduces the risk of emergencies.

Frequently Ask Questions

What should I expect to pay for a dental emergency visit?

The cost of a dental emergency visit depends on the severity of the problem, the required treatment, and your location.

Will my dental insurance cover any of the costs?

Dental insurance may cover some of the costs of emergency dental care. It is best to check with your insurance provider for coverage and any limitations or exclusions.

How can I improve my oral hygiene to promote healing and prevent future dental trauma?

You should do regular brushing and flossing, use fluoride toothpaste, and maintain a balanced diet that supports dental health. Avoiding excessive sugary foods and beverages, wearing a mouthguard, and scheduling regular dental checkups are additional steps to prevent dental trauma and promote healing.

Schedule your Next Dental Checkup Today!

Let Us Help You in Taking Care of Your Dental Health

Casa Dental ensures to provide the first-class service to a wide range of clientele including local and expatriate patients from young to old.
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