Published May 7, 2019
Unfortunately, dental emergencies are a part of life, but thankfully they are rare. Considering the number of chewing cycles and types of foods we crush and chew, it isn’t surprising teeth eventually breakdown. Considering dental decay and accidents, it becomes clear how teeth and gums occasionally have problems. Dental emergency types are many and varied so this article will focus on a few of the most common.
Toothaches usually start mild and gradually build. When you start to feel a toothache it is recommended to call your dentist. Most dentists keep times available for toothaches but it is always better to be seen before the toothache becomes more severe as the treatment needed may become more involved and expensive. The best prevention, though not always one hundred percent effective, is to see your dentist regularly and follow preventive recommendations.
A swollen face or abscess of the gums or tooth is serious and needs to be dealt with soon. Although rare, swelling in the face can spread and be life threatening. Therefore you should call the dentist as soon as possible to be seen. Some people will go to the ER, but that is not typically required unless you are having difficulty swallowing or opening your eye. In those cases, IV antibiotics are usually recommended. Regular preventive dental care is the best strategy to reduce your risk for infection.
Broken or chipped teeth may or may not cause any pain. It is still wise to call the dentist to be evaluated before it gets painful or potentially breaks further. If the chip is on a front tooth then saving the piece may be helpful in repairing it. To prevent chips and broken teeth it is recommended to avoid using your teeth to hold or cut anything other than food. Mouth guards are recommended for any sports where trauma is possible. Another common reason teeth break is that they are cracked or have large fillings; in those situations crowns can prevent it.
Pain on biting can be a precursor to either a fractured tooth or a full blown toothache. Therefore it is recommended to avoid chewing on the tooth and schedule a dental visit to determine the cause.
An accident that causes a tooth to come out or be pushed out of position is an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately. Call your dentist right away. If the tooth is out and is still clean then place it back into the socket, but avoid touching the root of the tooth if possible. If you are unable to place it back in the socket, keep the tooth moist and see your dentist as soon as possible. Emergency solutions are available to soak the tooth until you see your dentist which can be found in many emergency kits at schools and other locations that have a higher incidence of tooth trauma. If none is available, you can place it in milk, saliva or even water. It is best to not let the tooth dry out. Again, wearing mouth guards can prevent this from happening in sporting events or when doing high risk activities such as skate boarding, trampoline jumping, etc.
Another common dental emergency is pain in the gums from something being stuck between the teeth. Attempt to floss, pick or use an air flosser first. If that doesn’t work, then a trip to the dentist can be a quick fix.
No one wants to experience the pain and hassle that a dental emergency can cause. Therefore, the best advice is to see the dentist regularly and follow preventive recommendations to decrease the risk of emergencies. Not all emergencies are accidents, so it is also advisable to have a dental home so you have someone to call in the case of the unexpected.
Call us at (712) 737-3521 if you have an emergency - we are here to help you at Joiner and Zwart Dentistry in Orange City, Iowa.