What Constitues A Dental Emergency

The American Dental Association recommends that you schedule at least two dental appointments in a year. However, if your problem is considered a dental emergency you shouldn’t wait for another six months to call your dentist because if you wait that long you’re risking losing your tooth permanently or you could succumb to a life threatening infection that could spread all over your body. It is vital that you understand what a dental emergency is so that if in case it happens to you, you’ll know that it’s not going to be a hassle on your dentist’s part to call him or her in the middle of the night.

We all know that the very first person you should call when it comes oral problems is your dentist. However, not all dentists offer emergency services. Therefore, if you are going to partner with a dental health professional it would be a major advantage on your part if the dentist you choose is also an emergency dentist so that if and when a dental emergency arises you can count on your dentist to accommodate you beyond the usual office hours.

What are examples of dental emergencies? Let’s find out.

Knocked Out Tooth

One of the most common dental emergencies is a knocked out tooth. When this happens to you don’t hesitate to contact your emergency dentist but while you wait you must know what to do to preserve your tooth. When it is handled right there’s a very big chance that the tooth can still be reinserted.

First, you must hold the crown. Never touch the tooth root. Pick it up and rinse it gently to make it clean. Do not attempt to scrub your tooth or detach the tissues that are clinging to it. Before you rinse the detached tooth make sure you place a washcloth or towel at the bottom of the sink so that just in case it accidentally slips from your hand at least it won’t go straight to the drain. If you think it’s possible to place it back inside the socket, do it but if not place it in a clean container to keep it safe while you wait for your dentist. Don’t forget to call your dentist ASAP.

Cracked, Chipped, Fractured Tooth

Not every tooth that gets chipped requires immediate dental treatment. In fact, a chipped tooth is not considered a dental emergency at all. However, you have to be extra cautious when chewing so as not to create more damage. Nonetheless, you’ll still need to see your dentist to have it repaired. A tooth that is cracked or fractured is an example of a dental emergency as this suggests that the nerves inside are potentially compromised. If the fracture is so severe your dentist may not be able to save the tooth. For a broken or fractured tooth, here’s what you need to do to help save it while you wait for your dentist to arrive.

First, rinse your mouth with warm water. If the cause of the fracture is facial trauma, apply a cold compress on the site of the trauma to reduce the swelling. Take a painkiller (but not aspirin) to manage the pain.

Your emergency dentist may order an X-ray to check the condition of your tooth. If the tissues within your tooth are damaged you’ll be asked to undergo root canal therapy but if it’s not damaged you may only need a dental crown to cap it off.

Tissue Injury

Injuries in the mouth like lacerations, tears and punctured wounds are considered dental emergencies. If you incur an injury in the mouth rinse your mouth with warm water. If there is bleeding, apply a pressure using gauze to control it. Never ever take ibuprofen or aspirin when you are experiencing a dental emergency as this can cause abnormal bleeding.

These are all typical examples of dental emergencies. If any of these happen to your or someone you know, call your emergency dentist immediately.

Dr Gerald Regni, DMD, has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years. He does general and cosmetic dentistry, but has a special interest and focus in biological and holistic dentistry. He can be contacted at: Dr. Gerald Regni, DMD 937 Christian St Philadelphia, PA 19147 (215) 351-9399