Dental emergencies happen when you least expect them. Be that as it may, there are tried-and-tested ways of dealing with them or even preventing them from occurring in the first place.
Knowing these methods and essential tips can help prevent the occurrence of dental issues or stop these from becoming worse.
An emergency dentist in Melbourne shares the nine most common dental emergencies you should know about and the ways to deal with them, along with some prevention tips.
9 Common Dental Emergencies
1. Avulsed teeth
Whatever the cause may be, an avulsed or knocked-out permanent tooth can be replanted to its socket if emergency treatment is performed immediately. Every minute that passes will lower the chances of successful reattachment.
Here’s what you should do when you knock out your permanent tooth:
- Hold the tooth’s crown, not its root
- Rinse it gently with milk or saliva
- Try to reposition the tooth in its socket by gently holding it in place using a piece of gauze or cloth (if this can’t be done, keep it moist by placing it in a container of milk or your saliva)
- Go to your emergency dentist immediately
Take note that it is only within two hours after being knocked out that your tooth can be reimplanted. A reputable emergency dentist has the expertise to deal with such cases.
2. Broken, cracked or chipped teeth
Often, a small chip or crack in your tooth isn’t considered an emergency, unless it causes severe pain. Still, you should have it checked and fixed by your dentist soon.
On the other hand, extensive fractures or cracks on your tooth will require immediate relief. Keep your mouth clean by rinsing it with warm water, minimize swelling by applying a cold compress, and then call your dentist or go to the nearest dental clinic.
When left untreated, not only will a broken, cracked or chipped tooth cause severe pain, but it will also lead to further damage. For instance, bacteria can find a way into the inner chamber of your tooth, leading to infection. When this happens, your tooth can still be saved through root canal therapy. Otherwise, the affected tooth will be removed.
3. Displaced tooth
If an injury has displaced your tooth, contact an emergency dentist right away. This can cause discomfort and even interfere with your bite. Time is of the essence because immediate treatment increases the chance of saving your tooth.
4. A severe toothache
A toothache is probably one of the most unbearable types of pain. If you can’t sleep or even function properly because of this, call your emergency dentist immediately. The pain might be caused by trauma, infection or decay.
The first sign of tooth or gum infection is pain, but there are also cases wherein an infection isn’t accompanied by pain. Instead, you will notice swelling in your mouth and redness in your gums. If this affects your ability to breathe or swallow, call your emergency dentist ASAP.
6. Bleeding gums
If your gums are bleeding, this can indicate periodontal disease, which requires immediate treatment. An emergency dentist will diagnose the problem and carry out the right treatment to stop not just the bleeding, but also the spread of harmful bacteria.
7. Tissue injuries
Lacerations and cuts can happen to your tongue, lips, cheeks, and the other tissues in your mouth. Once you experience a tissue trauma, rinse your mouth with water, apply pressure to the affected area using a piece of gauze or cloth to stop the bleeding, and seek immediate care.
8. Damaged dental work
Loose or lost fillings can result in tooth pain and sensitivity. Also, it will make your tooth susceptible to decay and damage. Broken crowns and lost restorations, on the other hand, aren’t just cosmetic problems but will also lead to further tooth damage.
As such, you must contact an emergency dentist immediately whenever you experience any damage to your dental work to protect your tooth as well as keep your pearly white smile intact.
9. Sinus pressure
There is a complex link between tooth pain and sinus pressure. So if you are experiencing both symptoms simultaneously, head to an emergency dental clinic ASAP to rule out any dental causes like infection and impacted wisdom tooth.
Whenever you experience any of these dental issues, contact your emergency dentist or go to the nearest emergency dental clinic as soon as you can to save your tooth and be relieved from the discomfort. Never ignore these, even for several hours, because you won’t only lose your tooth, but your blood vessels or nerves could be damaged as well.
4 Tips for Preventing Dental Emergencies
Though there are plenty of advanced approaches to full mouth rejuvenation nowadays, nothing beats the benefits that your natural teeth offer. The best way to preserve your natural teeth is to prevent dental emergencies from happening.
1. Practice proper oral care
One of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy at all times is to have a proper dental care regimen. Proper brushing must be done at least twice a day, and flossing, once a day.
Most importantly, you must visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and professional cleaning. Early diagnosis of any dental problem will prevent the occurrence of dental emergencies and the need for complex dental treatments.
2. Wear protective gear
One wrong move can cause damage to your tooth. So consider wearing a mouth guard whenever you participate in sports and other physical activities like biking and rock climbing.
Have your mouth guard tailored by your dentist so it can fit perfectly in your mouth. This simple device is your best shield in preventing accidental dental damage that can range from lacerated gums to jaw fractures and tooth loss.
3. Avoid damaging food
Always be mindful of what you’re eating. Avoid chewing on things that could cause your teeth to crack or chip. These include hard candy, ice, tough shell foods, and popcorn kernels.
4. Take vitamins
Vitamins can benefit your mouth. Deficiencies can decrease your ability to fight gum disease, resulting in gingivitis. Vitamins A, B, C, and D can be obtained from your diet or perhaps from a safe and effective supplement.
Dental emergencies can be a painful ordeal. Thus, you should always have a plan in place and be aware of ways to cope with traumatic events.
It also helps to know of a reputable emergency dentist you can contact at any time. With proper caution and preventative measures, further dental damage can definitely be avoided.
Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.