If you had to make a top-10 list of experiences you’d like to avoid, a dental emergency would probably be somewhere near the top of the list. Unfortunately, you don’t always have control over what will happen, so instead of panicking when a dental emergency strikes, it’s best to have a plan of action to effectively respond. Therefore, you can stabilize the situation as quickly as possible and proceed to receive the expert care you need. Read on as your dentist provides more details!
Am I Really Having a Dental Emergency?
While there are some dental mishaps that don’t require immediate treatment, a dental emergency will have some distinct traits that obviously require medical attention. Here are some of the common indicators of an emergent situation:
- There is excruciating pain.
- There is a possible bone break.
- A restoration or tooth has dislodged.
- There has been a severe laceration that has caused continuous bleeding for more than 10 minutes.
Let’s now take a look at some specific dental emergencies so you’ll know what actions to take.
One of the most common dental emergencies is a toothache. Typically, it’s the result of untreated oral bacteria that have made their way to the sensitive inner parts of the tooth.
In the event this happens, you can take ibuprofen, apply ice to the outside of the jaw and attempt to floss carefully around the infection site. Even if the discomfort subsides temporarily, it’s still important that you seek immediate care to prevent the infection from spreading and causing more serious damage.
If you suddenly find yourself with a dislodged tooth, the first thing to do is to grab it by the crown (wide portion that is visible above the gums) and to carefully attempt to reinsert it. If you’re unsuccessful, then you can soak the tooth in a cup of milk or water to help preserve the root structure until you can be seen by your dentist.
Any type of bleeding should always be closely monitored. Thus, if you’ve suffered a laceration or some other type of oral trauma that has caused bleeding that lasts for more than 10 minutes, you should immediately head to the emergency room.
If you’ve received blunt force to the face and you suspect you have a broken jaw, it’s important to head to the emergency room. To prevent further injury before you can be seen, you can tie a piece of cloth around your head to limit your jaw movement as much as possible.
Why You Shouldn’t Panic
While a dental emergency can be a shocking experience, it’s of the utmost importance that you remain calm throughout the process. Thus, you can make sound decisions about what immediate actions to take. It will also allow you to clearly convey your symptoms when you contact your emergency dentist. Maintaining your wits and taking the appropriate next steps will aid in a faster recovery so you can get back to leading a normal life.
About the Author
Dr. Megan A. Shelton has had a passion for dentistry since childhood, which led to her earning her dental degree from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Not one to rest on her laurels, she has taken hours of continuing education so that she can provide the absolute best in dental care to her patients. Dr. Shelton treats dental emergencies at Polished General Dentistry, and she can be reached for more information through her website.