The number of dental-related emergency room visits has increased over the years. Whether you’ve lost a tooth, feel an ache, or broke a tooth, consider calling for help.
What is a dental emergency exactly, though?
Understanding the different types of dental emergencies that can occur will prepare you in case of an emergency. You can save yourself valuable time by reacting quickly. Otherwise, delaying your response could cause complications to arrive.
What is considered a dental emergency, exactly? Keep reading to find out!
After reading this guide, you can become more prepared for your entire family. You’ll know exactly when to seek help when your family needs it most.
Keep reading to learn more about dental emergencies today!
What is an Emergency Dentist?
First, let’s answer the question that likely brought you to this guide: what is a dental emergency, exactly?
Dental emergencies are situations where you or a family member is potentially in life-threatening danger. Delaying to react to a dental emergency could impact your health in the future. Certain types of dental emergencies require you to visit a dentist immediately.
Visiting a dental emergency room can ensure you receive help before complications develop.
In other words, situations that are urgent, time-sensitive, and life-threatening are dental emergencies.
It helps to know what symptoms to keep an eye out for. The next time you ask yourself “what is a dental emergency,” try to remember these signs:
- Severe pain
- Swollen gums
- Knots on the gums
- Swelling around the face
- Loose teeth
- A broken jaw
- A gum abscess
- A lost or broken filling
- Bleeding from the mouth
- A serious infection
If these types of dental emergencies sound familiar, seek help right away. Otherwise, excessive bleeding, infections, and other issues might threaten your life.
What Isn’t an Emergency?
It’s not enough to answer the question “what is a dental emergency?” You need to know which situations don’t constitute an emergency, too. Otherwise, you could waste valuable time and money visiting a dental emergency room.
If the situation doesn’t seem life-threatening, it likely isn’t a dental emergency. Instead, you can wait a day or two before visiting a professional dentist.
When in doubt, call the dentist’s office and let them know what happened. They’ll let you know whether or not the situation is critical. Chances are, you can take care of yourself before consulting a dentist.
For example, if you chipped a tooth, try to save the fragments. If you’re not in severe pain, you can probably wait before visiting a dentist.
If the fracture left sharp fragments behind, the chipped or cracked tooth could cause oral trauma. In these cases, you might want to visit a dental emergency room right away.
You should also visit an emergency dentist if you have an abscess. You might notice bumps on your gums. You could also develop a fever or notice swelling around your face.
What if you lost a filling? Usually, you can wait a few days before visiting your dentist.
In the meantime, stick a little sugar-free gum into your cavity. You can also use denture adhesive or cement if you lose a crown.
Not sure where to go for a dental emergency? Make sure to find an emergency dentist in your area before an emergency occurs. You’ll know exactly where to go, allowing you to save valuable time.
Types of Dental Emergencies
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is a dental emergency,” let’s go over a few examples. Here are a few types of dental emergencies you might encounter.
If any of these situations sound familiar, make sure to seek help right away.
A toothache might not seem like a major problem at first. Unfortunately, a toothache could indicate a bigger issue. For example, you might have:
- Dental cavities
- Exposed roots
- Dry socket
- Impacted wisdom teeth
It’s better to visit a dentist and allow them to assess your dental health than to assume the toothache will fade. Otherwise, you could have an injury or infection. A toothache could indicate serious decay, too.
Other symptoms that can develop with a toothache include a bad taste in your mouth, fever, and bad breath. You might develop swelling around a tooth or your jaw as well.
2. Tooth Abscess
Bacteria can cause a tooth abscess to develop, allowing a pocket of pus to grow. If the pus reaches the tooth’s root, you can develop a periapical abscess.
Your mortality rate could increase to 40% if you develop mediastinitis as a result of a tooth abscess.
Don’t risk it. Instead, visit an emergency dentist right away.
Symptoms of a tooth abscess can include sensitivity while chewing, fever, and a severe headache.
3. Broken Tooth
If you break, crack, or chip a tooth, save the pieces. Rinse your mouth with warm water.
Usually, these instances can wait. If you experience bleeding, call your dentist right away. You can find a family dentist you can count on here.
4. Knocked Out Tooth
A car accident, sporting event, and other traumas can knock out a tooth. Make sure to save the tooth. Pick it up by the crown (not the root).
Then, place it in milk until you can visit a dentist.
5. Gum Abscess
Pus can also form against your gums. You could experience:
- A loose tooth
- Pain when chewing
- Pus discharge
- Sensitivity to foods and beverages
If you develop these symptoms, call an emergency dentist. Otherwise, your immune system could weaken if you delay treatment.
6. Damaged Braces
If your braces sustain damage, a wire or bracket could scratch the inside of your mouth. Visit an orthodontist or emergency dentist right away. In the meantime, place a cotton ball around the bracket to protect your gums.
7. Lost Crowns
Don’t swallow your crown if it becomes loose or falls out. If it’s loose, you might have tooth decay.
Call an emergency dentist right away.
What is a Dental Emergency?: 7 Reasons to Visit a Dentist ASAP
To recap, what is a dental emergency? It’s a life-threatening situation that can have a lasting impact on your oral health. If any of these situations sound familiar, seek professional help right away.
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