What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?
Accidents and dental injuries to the teeth may not be entirely avoidable. However, not all injuries warrant a dental visit for emergency dental care. There are some dental emergencies that you can do something about on your own before sourcing dental services.
In this article, learn about what constitutes a dental emergency as well as steps to take for addressing accidents and injuries to your teeth.
What is a Dental Emergency?
One may describe a dental emergency as an accident or injury affecting the tooth, for which immediate professional care is vital. Common types of oral injuries include tooth fracture, avulsion (knocking out), and extrusion, which refers to loosening and displacement of a tooth. Gums, lips or cheeks may also be injured.
The extent of an injury would determine whether it qualifies as an emergency or not. Also, the part of your mouth that is affected is also a factor.
If the injury you suffer is minor and doesn’t come with significant discomfort, you may be able to apply cold compresses, hold the tooth if it is dislodged and then wait until normal hours to see your dentist. You may, for instance, be able to wait until such a time, if you’re experiencing a cracked tooth or suffered a minor fracture.
The story is different if the extent of an injury or accident is considerable. To help determine the severity of an injury, you should always call your dentist. It is safe to say you have a dental emergency on your hand if you have one or more completely knocked out teeth.
Urgent medical care will also be needed in cases where damage is done to nerves in your tooth or you notice a large crack.
Toothache with no visible cause may also be a reason to visit a dental office immediately. Failure to seek immediate treatment may lead to the loss of affected teeth.
How to Handle Dental Emergencies
Prioritize a visit to a dental office as soon as possible after suffering what qualifies for a dental emergency. It is best to get there within 30 minutes.
Before you are able to see your dentist, there are some things you can or should do, depending on the injury.
If you lose a tooth, don’t panic. Carefully rinse it with water to get rid of dirt or other residues. Then try to place it back gently into its socket to ensure the tooth remains moist until you can see a Dr. Ogletree in Pineville, NC. The tooth must not be allowed to dry out.
Caution is advised with how you handle the dislodged tooth. Make sure you hold it by the crown and not the root. You risk damaging cells needed for reattachment when you touch the root.
Wrap the tooth in gauze or piece of clean cloth and place in a container of your saliva or milk, if you are unable to hold it in the socket. You can then set out to seek professional care.
You may not bother with a minor fracture – at least, not immediately.
But, for more serious and painful cases, you can rinse your mouth with warm water and apply an ice pack to control swelling. You could also take an NSAID, such as ibuprofen, to relieve associated pain.
If a tooth moves out of position, try to align it properly using your finger. Bite down on the tooth to keep it from moving.
But be careful not to apply too much pressure while trying to re-position the tooth.
For injuries to other parts of the mouth, try to stop any bleeding immediately. Clean wounds at once before heading to your dentist.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
Extra caution is required with what you expose your teeth to when looking to avoid emergencies.
You should try by all means possible to avoid biting on hard objects. Be careful of foods that are too hard, such as some types of candy and popcorn kernels. Don’t treat your teeth as a replacement for scissors for cutting.
If you engage in high-impact sports or recreational activities, you should consider using a mouthguard while participating.
Do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Ogletree when having an emergency.
See Our Emergency Dentist in Pineville, NC
Improved Oral Health & Beautiful Smiles
Call the friendly staff at Royce Family Dentistry at 704.275.5442 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ogletree today. We can provide regular cleaning and exams as well as x-rays to ensure quality overall oral health.