What is a Dental Emergency?Dental pain is relatively common. Some experts estimate that just under a quarter of people have dealt with dental pain within the last six months. However, not every episode of dental pain is a dental emergency. To determine if you need emergency dental services, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there severe pain or bleeding?
- Have you lost a tooth, or do you have loose teeth?
- Do you have swelling or knots around your gums or face?
What Dental Emergencies Commonly Occur?The following common dental problems can indicate the need for emergency dental services. If you’re an adult and you suddenly lose a tooth, your dentist may be able to put it back into the socket, preserving the tooth and its integrity. Pick the tooth up carefully by the top, without touching the root, and rinse it off without scrubbing. Try to place it back into the socket, wrapping the area with cool, wet gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot get it back into the socket, place it into a glass of milk or sterile water, and contact the dentist to make sure that you’re able to save the tooth. Another common dental emergency is a cracked or chipped tooth. If it is extremely painful, clean the area with warm water and press a cold compress to the outside of your face to lessen the swelling. You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen for the pain, but don’t use numbing gel, which can damage your gums. A severe and possibly life-threatening emergency dental problem is an abscessed tooth. This occurs when a tooth holds a pocket of pus, leading to an infection. An abscess can cause sensitivity to hot and cold foods, a fever, persistent toothache, swelling in your face, bumps on your gums around the tooth, and tender lymph nodes on your neck. The infection can spread to your jaw and other areas of your body. If you see these symptoms, rinse your mouth with salt water a few times to lessen the pain and draw pus to the surface.
Avoiding Potential Dental EmergenciesManaging your oral hygiene is vital to prevent dental emergencies. Make sure that you’re brushing and flossing each day, and if you play sports, wear a mouthguard to prevent serious tooth injuries. In addition, it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year. They can check for loose teeth and crowns, and address infections, gum disease, and signs of decay. Our Houston, Texas dentist’s office provides a range of services, including:
- Dental fillings
- Dental cleanings
- Teeth whitening
- Dental crowns
- Dental implants