Emergency Care

When a dental emergency strikes – whether causes by a sudden slip and fall, sporting accident, or by a chronic disease – receiving the proper care for your teeth and gums as soon as possible will ensure the best possible outcome. Just like any other type of medical emergency, it’s vital to be aware of what to do before you actually find yourself in an emergency situation. Read on to learn what types of dental emergencies you may encounter, and how to be best prepared for them to ensure the best possible outcome. 

Traumatic Dental Injuries

When a permanent tooth gets knocked out, it’s important to act as fast as possible to increase the chances of being able to save the tooth. If you accidentally knock out a tooth, carefully pick it up without touching the root structure. Then, gently clean off the tooth in warm water, and try to place the tooth back into its socket facing the correct way. Gently hold the tooth in place with light pressure, and make your way to the emergency room. If you can’t place the tooth back into its socket right away, place the tooth between your check and gum, or place the tooth into a container of cold milk while you make your way to the ER. 

When a more traumatic dental emergency takes place, such as a tooth being moved or loosened, treatment needs to occur within six hours. If bleeding occurs that you’re unable to control, get to the emergency room as soon as you can. However, most dental emergencies aren’t severe, and include things like chipped teeth. If you chip a tooth, try and find all of the pieces of the tooth as it may be possible to reattach them. Make an appointment with your dentist as quickly as you can, and bring the pieces along with you. 

Tooth Pain
Whether tooth pain is acute (infrequent) or chronic (frequent), this is a clear sign that you should visit your dentist. Tooth decay, a bacterial infection that can find its way into many different parts of your tooth and even your gums, is the most common culprit of tooth pain. Sometimes, tooth pain is a signal that the root of your tooth has become infected, which requires a root canal procedure – this procedure relieves the pain of infection from within the tooth, and also keeps the tooth from having to be removed. It should be noted, however, that not all tooth pain is caused by infection – sometimes it can be the result of a filling that’s become loose or a sensitive tooth. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, the only way to know the cause for certain is to visit your dentist. So, be sure to always make an appointment if and when experiencing tooth pain. 

Gum Emergencies
Your gums are also subject to potential dental emergencies, and any injuries or infections involving the gums require fast medical attention. Accidental bites, falls, hot liquids or sports accidents can result in damage to the soft tissues of the mouth, and foreign bodies can become stuck in the gum line causing pain and potential infection. If gone without treatment, this infection can turn into an abscess, which requires immediate medical attention as your dental office. 

if you experience dental emergencies involving the gums, rinse your mouth with warm water with a small amount of salt. If you can see any debris or small contaminants in your gums, be sure to remove these. If there is any bleeding, place a damp cloth or towel on the area for ten minutes. If the bleeding continues, make your way to the nearest emergency room. 

If there is a piece of debris or a forieng contaminent stuck in your gum line, these can often be removed when slowly moved by dental floss or a toothpick. If this fails, be sure to get into see your dentist as soon as possible to avoid potential infections or other complications. 

Orthodontic Emergencies
There are really only a handful of orthodontic emergencies, including direct trauma to the teeth, jaw, or face, or infections of the mouth and gums. High amounts of pain in these areas can also be considered an orthodontic emergency. If any of these complications occur, make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist. If a piece of orthodontic hardware breaks or becomes uncomfortable, it’s best to see your orthodontist, as they are the ones who placed the hardware and are best suited to solve this issue. 

When a dental emergency or oral pain occurs, most patients will often assume a chronic disease or injury to be the cause. It should be noted that the gums, lips, tongue and cheek lining could also be experiencing complications. These sensitive tissues can become damaged due to falls, sports accidents, or extremely hot liquids. Foreign bodies can also become stuck in the gum line, potentially causing infections or pain. 

First Aid for Soft Tissue Emergencies 

When treating an injury to the gum tissue, start by rinsing out the area with dilute salt water. If there is an open wound, wash the wound with soap and water, and try to remove any contaminants as best you can. In addition, injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth don’t typically bleed excessively. However, the blood may mix with saliva to make the bleeding appear worse than it is. If bleeding occurs, place a warm towel on the area and apply gentle pressure. If this doesn’t work, make your way to the emergency room as quickly as possible. If you can, seek treatment within six hours of the injury to get the best result possible from your treatment, and avoid any serious complications. Treatment for this type of would may involve stitches, and the further removal of any contaminants and foreign bodies. 

Foreign Bodies

Sometimes, objects can become stuck in the teeth and gum line, potentially causing pain and infection. Some foods, like popcorn, tend to cause this type of problem most commonly, while other objects like splinters from toothpicks can also cause this. Dental floss or a toothpick can often work the objects out, but if this fails, your dentist will have special tools that can more easily remove the object. Be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible if any contaminant or foreign items are stuck in your tooth or gum line as to avoid any potential infection and discomfort. 

Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses

A gum abscess is a small skim sack that fills with pus, and can become quite painful. They form between the teeth and gums, and are causes by infection from food, untreated gum disease, or other objects becoming lodged in the teeth and gum line. The pain that arises from an abscess comes from the pressure within it, and can make the rest of the mouth very sore. 

To relieve the pressure from an abscess, see your dentist right away so that they can drain the abscess in a sterilized, controlled environment. This will ensure that the abscess located accurately, is removed completely, and that no infections arise from draining the abscess. Treatment typically involves draining the abscess, cleaning the area, and preventing against any possible infections. 

Having braces or another type of orthodontic appliance definitely can take some getting used to. When your braces or other appliance is first put on, there is often some soreness that follows. However, patients can rest assured that orthodontic dental emergencies are quite rare, and are typically only minor complications that are easily fixable. 

When an orthodontic emergency strikes, the first step should always be to determine just how severe the emergency is. For more serious emergencies, seek out immediate attention at your dentist or orthodontic office. However, ask yourself – is this an emergency that can be taken care of at home? 

A Major Emergency

The good news is that there are really only ever a few true orthodontic emergencies, and these include? 

  • Trauma or injury of the face and mouth 
  • Infection and swelling involving the face and mouth
  • Intense pain in the mouth, face or jaw

When the above emergencies strike, always seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Always begin by consulting your dental office, as your problem may require a diagnosis and treatment there. After your dentist has treated the problem, your orthodontist can them adjust their work and leave you pain and discomfort free. The above emergencies may also signal possible infection, which is something your dental office is quipped to treat. 

Some Minor Troubles

The good news is that the vast majority of orthodontic emergencies are not severe, and only involve minor complications that are fairly easy to treat. The vast majority of these minor complications can be resolved by a simple visit to your dentist or orthodontist. Some of these minor issues include:

Wire and Bracket Complications 

 

Candy and sticky foods can cause wire complications, namely forcing the wires to separate from the brackets either partially or entirely. If this happens, simply leave the bracket as it is to prevent any further damage! If the wire happens to separate from the bracket entirely, be sure to hold on to the wire and make an appointment with your orthodontist. The wire can be reattached, and if there is any access wire poking your check, this can be covered with orthodontic wax. 

Poking Wires And Bands 

When your teeth begin to move towards their desired position, the wires of your braces may begin to poke the inside of your mouth. When this happens, you can try to move the wire to a more comfortable position with a q-tip until you see your orthodontist. A pair of tweezers can also help with this. Be sure, however, to call your orthodontist for basic instructions on doing so in the time between when the wire begins to poke and your next orthodontist appointment. 

Discomfort And Loosening Teeth 

Initially into your braces journey, your teeth will begin to slightly loosen as they move towards their desired final position. This can cause some mild to moderate discomfort. Over the counter medications that contain Ibuprofen can help to relieve this pain. Or, warm dilute salt water can also relieve some of the initial discomfort of braces – mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, and rinse this around in your mouth for 30 seconds. 

While true orthodontic emergencies, such as trauma to the face and gums, there’s no reason why your orthodontic journey shouldn’t be enjoyable and pain-free. If you’re ever experiencing any orthodontic troubles, always reach out to your dentist or orthodontist and schedule an appointment. 

Tooth pain is a very common occurrence that can interfere with many aspects of your life, namely talking, eating, and concentration. Some people experience chronic (long term) tooth pain, while others only experience occasional sensitivity. In essence, tooth sensitivity is a response of the nerves in your teeth that tell you there is a problem. However, determining exactly what this problem is can be tricky on your own. What exactly causes tooth pain, and how should you respond? 

Tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth pain and sensitivity, and this decay can spread to the gums and other parts of the body. When tooth decay becomes severe, this can lead to gum disease, which is also a common cause of tooth pain and sensitivity. 

The best way to get to the bottom of any tooth pain you’re experiencing is always to see your dentist, who will examine your teeth and potentially have x-rays taken to determine the cause. There are ways to accurately describe any tooth pain you may be in, which can help you communicate with your dentist and aid in the process of diagnosis: 

 

Severe Pain/Root Complications 

When you feel chronic, severe pain, pressure in the mouth, or experience facial and gum swelling, these can be signs that one or more of your teeth have become infected. This can also be an indication of a dental abscess, which is a painful puss-filled sack, on the gums or bone tissue. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms, be sure to see your dentist right away for treatment – these are all complications that can be treated, but that become more difficult and more costly to treat the longer you wait. 

 

Seeing your dentist right away when experiencing these symptoms also increase the chance that the tooth can be saved. You may undergo a root canal treatment, or other treatment that relieves your pain and removes any present infection and decay. 

 

If you experience pain long after eating cold or hot foods, this can be a sign of decay and infection in the pulp of your tooth. The pulp of the tooth can become infected to to decay and trauma deep within the tooth, and can spread quite easily. The nerves within the tooth die, which eases the pain and sensitivity. However, the infection within the tooth does not go away, and can become severe when left untreated. If you experience this type of pain, be sure to see your dentist right away. This may be a sign that a root canal is required, which allows you to keep the tooth. 

 

If you feel sharp pain when biting down, this also may be a sign of decay and infection within the tooth. If you experience sharp pain while biting down and eating, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Depending on the cause of the pain, you might require a root canal, bonding, fillings, or other treatments that can address the cause of the pain. 

Toothache

 

When you experience acute (occasional) tooth sensitivity and pain, this can be a sign of a small area of decay, filling that has become loose, or receding gums. To rid yourself of this sensitivity, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush and tooth paste for sensitive teeth for two to three weeks. If these symptoms persist after this period, be sure to schedule a meeting with your dentist as soon as possible. Certain dental treatments can cause temporary tooth sensitivity, however, which can be relieved with the above mentioned methods. However, if this sensitivity continues, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. 

 

Cold and flu congestion as well as severe sinus headaches can cause pressure and achey pains in the jaw and in your top row of teeth. When you get over your cold of flue, these symptoms should go away with it. Excessive biting and clenching of the jaw (known commonly as bruxism) can cause these symptoms as well. Wearing a night guard can alleviate these symptoms, and you can have one of these custom fitted for you at your dentist’s office. 

Whichever type of tooth pain or sensitivity you’re experiencing, it’s always important to learn the source of the pain so it can be properly diagnosed and treated. Be sure to call into your dentist and schedule an appointment if these symptoms continue. 

Serious injuries to the teeth, mouth, face and jaw can occur in many different situations – sports accidents, slip and falls, and car accidents can all cause traumatic dental injuries. When any serious dental injury occurs, the main goal is always to save the teeth and restore any damage that’s been done. By being prepared in advance and acting fast, you can prevent these sorts of injuries from occurring in the first place, and highly increase the chances of saving your teeth if and when they do. Follow these tips for avoiding sport-related dental injuries as well as other types of dental injuries: 

Sports-Related Dental Injuries

 

People of all ages in the United States love to play sports, to the point where high school athletic participation has been exponentially increasing for over 24 years! To get the most out of your athletic activities and enjoy them as much as possible, it’s vital to prepare for, and know how to respond to, injuries. 

Injuries related to the mouth and jaw account for a large amount of sports injuries, and the irony is that the vast majority of these injuries are easily preventable, simply with a fitted mouthguard. Being that the lifetime expense of replacing just a single tooth can be upwards $20,000, a mouthguard is the best investment you can make for yourself or your child – studies have shows mouth guards to reduce the occurrence of sports-related injuries by a whopping 6,000%. 

 

While there are many mouthguard available from sporting goods stores, these mouth guards aren’t fitted specifically to your mouth and teeth, and are therefore less effective as preventing injury. To get the best mouth guard fit possible and prevent sports injuries to the fullest extent, get a mouth guard from your dentist – these mouth guards aren’t just perfectly fitted, but they’re also incredibly light weight and strong. Ask your dentist about a custom mouth guard, and be as prepared as possible for potential sports injuries. 

There are still many other types of dental injuries that can occur, such as: 

Broken and Chipped Teeth

 

According the recent research, broken and chipped teeth are by far the most common dental injuries. If you brake or chip a tooth, always try to see your dentist either the same day or the next day at the latest. The sooner you act, the higher your chances are of saving the tooth and avoiding more costly treatments. Also, pick up any pieces of the tooth that have broken off and bring them to your dentist, as they may be able to reattach  them. 

Knocked-Out Teeth

Anytime a permanent tooth gets knocked out, it’s vital to see your dentist immediately. Also, acting fast can increase the chances of saving the tooth. Be sure to find the tooth and clean it gently with warm water. Place the tooth back in its socket facing the correct way, and hold it in with mild pressure. Use a towel or gauze to help hold the tooth in place, and seek out emergency dental treatment. If you can’t place the tooth back into its socket for whatever reason, tuck the tooth between the cheek and gum. Or, carry the tooth in a bag or cup filled with cold milk, and make your way to your dentist’s office or emergency room. It should also be noted that baby teeth (primary teeth) don’t require replanting, as a permanent tooth will grow in its place. 

Partially Displaced Teeth

 

When a tooth becomes partially dislodged from its socket, or is pushed too far down into the socket, be sure to seek out emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Your dentist will likely have x-rays taken to determine the severity of the injury, and will determine the best treatment method for your case. 

Soft-Tissue Injuries 

Dental injuries can often involve the tongue, gums, and cheek, which are known as soft-tissue injuries. When these occur due to foreign objects, scalding hot liquids, and accidental bites, fast action is key to getting the best treatment possible. Be suer to wash the area with soap and water as much as possible, and make your way to your dentist’s office. If there is any bleeding, place a towel or gauze on the area with light pressure. If this bleeding continues for more than ten minutes, make your way to the emergency room. 

Always feel free to call our office to learn more about how to best respond to teeth and gum injuries, or schedule an emergency appointment if you’ve experienced one. 

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