Like other types of emergencies, dental emergencies can happen at any time. While most dental emergencies may not require the same type of urgency as certain medical emergencies, they still require prompt attention. However, before responding to a dental emergency, it is first important to make sure that you know what constitutes a dental emergency. To help you determine whether you are having a dental emergency or not, here are the 5 most common dental emergencies:
Although enamel is extremely strong, it is not indestructible and it can chip or crack in response to extreme force. Using your teeth as tools, biting down on hard foods, chewing on ice, and grinding or clenching your teeth are a few potential causes of broken teeth. Once the protective enamel layer is chipped or cracked, this can increase your chances of developing a pulp infection. For this reason, a chipped or cracked tooth is considered a dental emergency. In cases where your tooth has chipped, it is advised to locate and collect any tooth fragments if possible.
Broken Dental Restoration
Dental restorations are also strong and durable, but they can also be susceptible to damage. Just like your enamel, if your dental restoration becomes damaged it will no longer protect your tooth properly. In some cases, restorations can also fall off, which leaves your tooth exposed. Both damaged and displaced dental restorations are considered dental emergencies and should be treated as soon as possible.
Knocked Out Tooth
When a tooth is knocked out, you will need to call your dentist immediately for an appointment. In the meantime, you should try and locate the tooth. When handling a knocked out tooth, never touch the root and only hold it by the crown. If you need to rinse debris from the tooth, only use water and be careful not to remove any attached tissues. It is important that you keep the tooth moist until your appointment. This can be accomplished by placing the tooth back in the socket and gently biting down to hold it in place, or by storing it in a small container with milk, water, or saliva.
A permanent tooth that has suddenly become loose is another example of a dental emergency. You should never attempt to remove the tooth. Instead, you should gently bite down to hold the tooth in place until you can be seen by your dentist.
Tooth pain can be caused by any number of things. In some cases, it can simply be caused by something becoming lodged in between the teeth. For this reason, if you have sudden tooth pain you should first floss to rule out this cause. However, when tooth pain comes on suddenly, gets progressively worse, or is severe, it can also be indicative of a pulp infection. Pulp infections require immediate attention to prevent the infection from spreading or causing the loss of the tooth. Therefore, you should call your dentist when you experience severe or sudden tooth pain.
Dr. Martin is a highly skilled dentist of 16 years, and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. During this time, he has placed over 500 implants and maintains his skills by taking more CE courses than required by the State Board each year.