Dental Emergency 101: Causes, Signs and How to Handle Them

Dental Emergency 101: Causes, Signs and How to Handle Them

July 1, 2021

How can you tell that the toothache you have is normal, meaning it can be handled at home, or severe, needing emergency dental care?

Those seemingly small dental problems can quickly turn into a nightmare, causing more dental problems if left untreated. How quickly you visit an emergency dentist after an accident occurs will determine if your teeth can be saved or not.

We have urgent dental problems, and non-urgent ones, and knowing the difference between the two will save you time and energy. In this post, we highlight some of the common urgent dental problems.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

Any injury that affects the teeth, gums, and the surrounding tissues causing bleeding, swelling, and pain is classified as an emergency.

Signs of You Need Emergency Dental Care

1. You Have Loose Teeth 

Loose teeth in children are normal, after all the primary teeth come out to make room for the permanent ones. However, if you already have mature permanent teeth, and they are wiggly, then it may be a problem. For starters, loose teeth indicate a tooth injury, which can occur after a fall or direct blow to the teeth.

When your teeth loosen, you need to visit an emergency dentist’s office for immediate treatment within an hour of the accident. This increases the chances of the dentist saving your teeth and preventing further damage.

Localized infection like gum infection is another cause of loose teeth. The bacteria affect the soft tissues and the ligaments that support the teeth causing them to detach. If not addressed on time, it can lead to permanent loss of teeth.

2. Severe Toothache 

Severe tooth pain is a sure sign you need to visit an emergency dentist for immediate relief. If the pain is mild, you can use home remedies to ease the pain. However, if you are experiencing severe, persistent, and throbbing pain, it could be a sign of an injury, infection, or decay. Getting rid of the decay and infection will not only reduce the pain but will also prevent the infection from spreading.

3. Bleeding Gums 

Sometimes brushing too hard using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause your gums to slightly bleed. This bleeding, however, is minor and clear after a few minutes. If you notice persistent bleeding that occurs when you floss, it can be a sign of gum disease. Detecting gum disease and starting the treatment early is key to keeping your gums healthy.

4. Swollen Jaw

Swelling of the jaw could be a sign of infected salivary glands. When the bacteria get into the inner part of the gums and jaw, they can block the glands. This will stop the production of saliva, which important in keeping your mouth clean.

5. Dental Abscess 

A dental abscess is a cause of discomfort and it is a result of untreated gum disease or cavity. When you have an abscess, you can experience pain, fever, and bad taste in the mouth. The abscess does not clear on its own, and you may require surgery to get rid of the accumulated pus.

Are Broken Dental Restorations an Emergency?

It will depend on the type of restoration and the severity of the problem. If bonded teeth break or crack, you can wait for the next appointment. However, if it is restorations like crowns and bridges, you will need urgent treatment. Remember, the crowns and bridges cover reshaped natural teeth and it can cause sensitivity and pain.

What Can You Do When a Dental Accident Occurs?

How you handle a dental accident will determine the success of your treatment. Here are a few tips:

  • If you have loose, partially, or completely knocked out teeth, you must take the necessary steps to preserve the teeth. Place the teeth back into the socket if they are partially knocked or put them in milk solution to preserve the teeth if they are completely knocked out.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm salty water to remove debris.

Take Action

Visit Yelena Popkova, DDS if an accident occurs for immediate treatment.