Dental Emergency: Facts and Common Misconceptions

Some of the most common dental emergencies include a chipped tooth, gum disease, tooth decay, and cracked teeth. Proper dental care can prevent many dental problems from occurring in the first place. However, even optimal dental care may not be able to prevent certain emergencies, such as having a tooth knocked out accidentally.

Long-term damage can be prevented by knowing what to do in the event that a dental emergency does occur. Here, our focus will be on some of the most common misconceptions and facts concerning dental emergencies.

What is a dental emergency?

If immediate medical intervention is needed in order to stop severe dental pain or bleeding, then it is a dental emergency. Emergency dentists are skilled dentists that can help save a patient’s tooth before it is too late.

However, if the issue can wait a few days until being seen by a dentist, then it is not a dental emergency. For example, a mild toothache may be caused by a small cavity that can wait a few days before being filled.

What are common dental emergencies?

If you suffer a severe dental injury due to a fall or blunt force trauma, then you will require immediate dental intervention by an emergency dentist or doctor. 

A tooth may get knocked out while you are playing sports, which would require that you see an emergency dentist in order to have the tooth inserted without damaging your mouth.

Wisdom teeth should usually be taken out as soon as possible, as older patients tend to have more serious complications with their wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can be impossible to clean, making them vulnerable to bacteria and decay.

Abscessed gums can cause gums to recede, and will eventually lead to bone loss and the loss of your teeth if you do not see a dentist in time. Abscessed gums can also cause a very serious infection that can spread to your lungs and heart, thus requiring hospitalization.

A lost crown or filling will leave decayed or damaged teeth or gums vulnerable to subsequent harm. Chipped or broken teeth can also cause intense pain, making it hard to eat, smile, talk, and sleep.

Gum bleeding is another serious problem, and may be a sign of gum disease. If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, then please see your dentist as soon as possible because pronounced gum disease can lead to the permanent loss of your teeth.

A severe toothache may be caused by a deep cavity, dry socket, or damage to your teeth. Severe dental pain should not be left untreated.

Common Misconceptions About Dental Emergencies

A common misconception about dental emergencies is that they can be put off until the last minute. In truth, some dental emergencies can actually lead to the premature death of the patient if not treated in time.

Another common misconception is that dental infections will eventually go away on their own. In reality, dental infections will only grow and spread, thus causing even more harm to your teeth and gums.

Strangely, some people believe that accidental tooth loss is not a serious problem. In fact, your teeth will become crooked and/or displaced, as your adjacent teeth will shift in an attempt to fill in the gap.

A partially dislodged tooth will also not heal without dental intervention. The tooth will eventually fall out, and will attract bacteria and plaque that can cause cavities and bad breath.

“Mild” oral lacerations are anything but mild. They can become infected, thus making it hard to eat or sleep. You may require antibiotics, stitches, and other dental treatments that can take weeks to work or heal.

However, not every dental pain requires that you see an emergency dentist. Certain foods and beverages may cause your teeth and/or mouth to tingle or feel sensitive for a few hours. For example, drinking ice cold water may cause temporary dental pain.

Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

A loose tooth will need to be seen by a dentist immediately. A dental abscess can lead to death in some cases, and should never be taken lightly. Extreme toothache can also be a matter of life and death, and should be seen by an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Constant headaches may be linked to jaw and oral problems or disorders, and should be investigated further by an oral surgeon. Sores on your lips or tongue may also be a sign of an infection, allergic reaction, or cancer, and should not be put off until the last minute.

A swollen jaw can be caused by a hairline fracture or broken jaw, and should be seen by an emergency dentist in the briefest delay. Numbness in the mouth may be caused by a dead tooth, which may require a root canal or possible extraction.

Bleeding or aching gums can be caused by severe gum disease, and should be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent the loss of your teeth.

Emergency dental treatments can not only save your teeth, but they may even save your life in some cases. Do not take your oral health for granted.

Oral Health Matters

Dental emergencies can occur when you least expect them. If you wear bridges, crowns, or dentures, or you already have chronic health problems, then your risk of suffering from a dental emergency will increase.

Dental emergencies are far more serious than common dental problems, and need to be seen by an emergency dentist in your area sooner rather than later. Expert care will be needed in order to eliminate the pain. Dental emergencies will not go away on their own, and will only get worse the longer they are left untreated.

It is therefore important to brush 2 to 3 times a day, as well as floss every day, in order to reduce the risk of oral health problems. Visiting your dentist every 6 months will also help ensure that any dental issues can be treated quickly before they become bigger problems.

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