Nobody wants to be in the middle of a dental emergency, and it is our goal that you never have to be. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies and how to avoid them.
Toothache The most common dental emergency is a severe and incapacitating toothache, which can be caused by one of two things:
decay that has reached the tooth’s nerve, causing severe pain, or an abscess, which is an infection in the tooth’s root.
To relieve pain while waiting to see the dentist, apply an ice pack or cold compress to your face or jaw. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help, but in some cases, they may aggravate the burning in the toothache area when the medication comes into contact with the gum tissue.
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a knocked-out tooth
Another common dental emergency is a tooth that has been completely knocked out. It’s critical to see a dentist as soon as possible after having a tooth knocked out to increase the chances of saving the tooth.
Teeth that have been knocked out frequently come out with the entire root still attached. If you can locate the tooth, gently rinse and reinsert it (without applying pressure) while on your way to the dentist. If you don’t feel safe, put it in a glass of milk while you seek medical attention. The tooth can still be saved in some cases.
A broken tooth can be caused by trauma (for example, a car accident, falling, or being hit) or decay. In some cases, a broken tooth isn’t a dental emergency and can wait a few days or even weeks before you can see a dentist, but if you’re in severe pain or the remaining tooth is sharp enough to injure your tongue or cheek, you may require immediate attention. While trauma is uncontrollable, strong, healthy teeth are less likely to break while eating or performing other normal activities.
Keeping Dental Emergencies at Bay
Dental emergencies are much more common in people who do not have routine dental examinations and cleanings, so the first step you can take to avoid them is to see a dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. Routine visits assist your dentist in identifying and treating problems early – before they cause pain, infection, or other serious complications.
You can also reduce your chances of having a dental emergency by taking good care of your teeth at home. This entails:
- brushing your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after each meal) with an ADA-approved non-abrasive toothpaste
- flossing at least once a day
- rinsing your mouth with mouthwash at least once a day
There are also some lifestyle choices, such as smoking and illicit drug use, that have a significant impact on your dental health and your likelihood of experiencing tooth loss and dental emergencies. If you choose to stop smoking and using drugs, you will not only support a healthy smile, but also a healthier future.
Connect with our caring team to take the first step toward avoiding emergencies (that’s prevention!). Find your nearest Dental office today to make an appointment with one of our dentists. You can also find out more about our emergency dental services.