It’s a nice spring day and you have plans to head outside to enjoy the beautiful California weather, when you realize that a pain is developing on one side of your face from a toothache. Your first thought is, “How can I get some relief?” You also wonder, “Is this considered an emergency?” Your dentist is weighing in to answer those questions and provide you with some guidelines on what to do in emergent situations.
What is a Dental Emergency?
The toothache that stopped you in your tracks would be considered a dental emergency because it fits the criteria, meaning that it has caused a sudden decline in your oral health. Thus, your mouth is sending a strong pain signal to alert you that the problem has escalated.
The severity of an emergency can differ, but there are still some common habits that you should adopt if you find yourself in one:
- Be Calm – You may feel like your world is being turned upside down, but It’s important to not panic when an emergency happens. This is because the next steps are critical in restoring your health. Thus, your decisions need to be thought out and purposeful, so take a deep breath and then execute.
- Call Your Dentist – After you’ve taken a deep breath, reach out to your dentist’s office and let the staff know what’s going on, so they can walk you through the next steps to help you get the relief you need.
Common Types of Dental Emergencies
It’s important to have an idea of what some of the more common types of dental emergencies are so that you can be prepared:
- Toothache – A toothache is caused by an infection that has progressively gotten worse until it has reached a crescendo. After contacting your dentist, you can take up to 600 mg of ibuprofen and apply ice to the side of your face where the pain is.
- Tooth Knocked Out – If you have a tooth dislodged, you should clean your hands, grab it by the crown (the rounded portion) and either place the tooth back in your mouth or let it sit in water or milk. It’s imperative that you contact your emergency dentist, immediately, because you have a two-hour window to have the tooth re-inserted.
- Chipped or Cracked Tooth – Any sudden impact to your mouth can lead to a chipped or cracked tooth. Also, eating foods that are too hard, like popcorn kernels, can damage your teeth. If this happens, avoid chewing any food on that side of your mouth until the issue has been addressed.
- Item Stuck in Tooth – If you find yourself with something stuck between your teeth, you can try to floss or rinse your mouth to remove it. If you notice that you have continuous bleeding, though, you should immediately head to the nearest emergency room.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
If you suspect that you have a dental emergency, it’s better to reach out to your dentist just to be sure, as opposed to ignoring it. With her assistance, you’ll soon be back to normal.
About the Author
Since the age of 12, Dr. Megan A. Shelton has had a passion for dentistry, which led her to obtain her dental degree from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Remaining driven to expand her knowledge, she participates in hours of continuing education annually so that she can provide the best care for her patients at Polished General Dentistry. Dr. Shelton can be reached for more information through her website.