Dental emergencies may take place at the most unexpected time. A dental emergency could be very stressful and present dangerous problems to your oral health. When this happens, try to seek medical support right away.
Meanwhile, there are certain things you can do to lessen the risks of complications and minimize the discomfort caused by dental emergencies. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies and how you can properly handle them before you visit a dentist.
1. Tooth Abscess
Tooth abscess happens when bacteria get into the pulp of your tooth, whether because of a crack or chip in the enamel or dental cavities. The moment the bacteria spread to the root, it results in infection as well as inflammation, which typically causes swollen gums and pain when chewing.
There are different kinds of tooth abscesses. There’s a gingival abscess, which only comes up in the gum tissues and doesn’t affect the teeth; a periapical abscess, which affects the roots of the teeth; and a periodontal abscess, which develops in the gum pockets, between the teeth and gums.
All kinds of tooth abscesses could cause pain that may spread from the site to other parts of your body. Though this may not be a dental emergency at first, if you didn’t take action to address it, an abscess may break and spread the infection to your head, neck, ear, or jaw. They could also cause bad breath, swelling and redness, sensitive teeth, a foul taste in the mouth, and fever. The pain might become worse when you’re lying down or chewing or biting in that area of your mouth.
Until you could get an appointment, try to avoid chewing or biting on the affected part and take over-the-counter pain relievers. You could also ease the pain and discomfort by rinsing the mouth with a salt-and-water solution to draw out some bacteria. Try to do this a couple of times until you could visit your dentist.
2. Fractured Jaw
If you have a broken, dislocated, or fractured jaw, you’re more likely to experience swelling and pain, as well as bruising and numbness in your face. What’s more, you might have a bleeding mouth and encounter difficulty in chewing, breathing, and speaking, depending on the severity of the damage.
Until you could obtain dental treatment, wrap an icepack with a towel and then apply it to your jaw for 15-20 minutes every hour. Doing so may help in reducing the pain while preventing the tissues from being damaged. Also, try to avoid hard food and putting too much pressure on the jaw until you have it checked up by a dentist.
3. Broken, Fractured, Or Chipped Tooth
Whether it be because of an injury or from biting into hard food, tooth cracks could be felt—from a shooting discomfort when you’re chewing to intense and sudden aches caused by a cold or hot temperature. If the pain comes and goes, you might have a damaged tooth.
If you have a dental emergency like a broken tooth, seek professional help immediately. Often, a fractured or broken tooth could be repaired with the use of a dental crown or through filling, which may work perfectly for a couple of years.
But if there’s no way for you to visit a dentist right away, consider taking over-the-counter pain medications. You could also gently bite down on a moist and clean cloth or gauze, which could help in relieving the symptoms until you get professional assistance.
4. Knocked-Out Or Dislodged Tooth
When your tooth gets knocked out, it could be quite painful and require immediate action. You could still save your knocked-out tooth through proper emergency action so it can be successfully transplanted, which could last for years.
If the tooth has fallen out of the mouth, you must immediately rescue your tooth. Pick it up by the chewing surface, and if possible, don’t touch the tooth’s root with your fingers. Then carefully rinse the tooth with fresh and clean water to get rid of any bacteria and loose dirt it may have obtained from the ground. Make sure not to use soap or any other chemicals that might damage the root. Also, don’t wrap it in a tissue or cloth.
If you can, try placing the tooth in the socket, holding it by the chewing surface or crown, and carefully inserting the root in the gap. Gently hold it in place and slowly bite down until it reaches the correct position. If you can do this quickly, you might be able to save the root.
If you can’t put the tooth back in your mouth, put the tooth in a container with a small amount of milk to keep it moist. Avoid using water since the root’s cells might not be able to handle the liquid, even just for a minute. If you have a tooth preservation kit, you could also put it there.
However, it’s best if you could visit your dentist within half an hour after the injury. This could maximize your chances of saving your tooth. It may no longer be possible to rescue your tooth after a couple of hours following the trauma.\
5. Lost Crown and Filling
Losing a crown or filling usually happens while eating. The minute it’s out of your mouth, the tooth may become susceptible to pressure and temperature changes. The crown could become loose as the tooth below is decaying.
If the crown has dropped out of your mouth, you’d need to visit a dentist immediately. In the meantime, keep the crown in a safe and cool place since there’s a chance it might be reinserted. But if it’s been out for a long period, your tooth may move or sustain further damage.
In case your dentist isn’t immediately accessible, try applying clove oil to the tooth to minimize the pain. On the other hand, if you’ve lost a crown, you may consider applying dental cement to your tooth to lessen the discomfort you’re feeling. Dental cement is readily available at your local pharmacies.
6. Sudden Toothache
A toothache takes place because of many different problems, like clenching or grinding, abscess, cavities, or even food caught between the teeth. At times, toothache needs urgent dental appointments, but in other cases, they don’t.
When you’re experiencing sudden a toothache, consider taking over-the-counter painkillers. You could also try gargling with warm water and placing an icepack on your face, particularly on the affected area. Avoid using hot-water bottles and other sources of heat. Also, try to gently floss around your teeth if you can to dislodge the accumulated food debris.
Nevertheless, unless the dental emergency could be remedied easily, it’s crucial you visit your dentist as soon as possible. This would ensure you receive proper diagnosis and dental treatment for your problem.
7. Wisdom Tooth Inflammation
A wisdom tooth is actually the last tooth to erupt, typically during a person’s adult years. Some people experience sluggish inception or abrupt pain during this period, with the tooth shifting as well as crowding the mouth. Often, removal is an ideal solution to ease the pain and prevent tooth shifting. You could head to your oral health therapist or dentist for more advice on this matter.
But when wisdom tooth inflammation attacks you in the middle of the night or there’s no way for you to get to a dentist immediately, you could take over-the-counter pain medicines or use numbing gels. Pain medications and numbing gels could help you deal with the discomfort and achieve a good night’s sleep pending your appointment with your dentist.
You could also mix salt in either cold or drinking water. Swish the solution around your mouth a couple of times and then spit it out. This solution is said to be effective in temporarily slowing down the bacteria.
Another home remedy you could try is to use clove oil. Cloves have natural antibacterial oils. All you need to do is place a small amount of clove oil in a cotton pad and dab it to your wisdom tooth directly. To ease the inflammation and pain, try to repeat this a couple of times.
Tooth injuries and emergencies can’t be avoided. However, there are some steps you could do to avoid certain dental problems. One of the best ways is to maintain oral health at all times. To keep your oral health in good condition and free your mouth from infections, observe proper oral hygiene.
Also, take vitamins that could help boost your oral health and immune system to fight unwanted infections. Vitamins A, B, and C could promote healthy gums, while vitamins B6, C, and E could offer an increased immune system. On the other hand, regular cleanings and visits to reliable dentists are also important to avoid dental emergencies. Moreover, being aware of what you’re eating could also protect your teeth from becoming broken or chipped.
Another essential measure you need to take in order to avoid loose, damaged, or cracked teeth is to wear protective equipment, especially when you’re engaging in high-risk physical activities. A mouthguard, for instance, would protect your teeth from facial trauma. Nevertheless, no matter what your dental problem may be, hopefully you’ve found this article helpful.