When most people consider medical emergencies, they immediately think of and prepare for broken bones and concussions. But there is another type of medical emergency that many people may not know how to deal with: the dental emergency. If you’re faced with a dental emergency, remember that the team at Hatch Family Dentistry will always be happy to treat whatever problem you’ve unexpectedly run into.
What are the most common types of dental emergencies?
To know how to react to dental emergencies, it would help to know more about the types of problems that could arise. The three most common unexpected dental issues, from least to most severe, are:
Toothaches: If you’ve ever gotten a cavity before, you’re probably familiar with the slight twinges you might have felt when chewing with the decayed tooth. These slight pains are telltale signs of something gone wrong in your mouth, but the toothache associated with injury or trauma to a tooth or teeth is the sign of something more serious. It’s hard to describe the exact conditions under which you should seek medical attention, but, as a general rule, if it’s debilitating enough and doesn’t go away, you should call your dentist. Toothaches could be a symptom of anything from severe decay to the later stages of gum disease, and only a professional can properly diagnose your case.
Chips and cracks: You might not be able to figure out why you have a toothache because sometimes the chip or crack isn’t readily visible. Chips and cracks can happen for a number of reasons: anything from a bad fall, a blow to the face, or a piece of ice or hard candy could cause physical damage to a tooth. With the exception of the most severe cases, chips and cracks should be relatively easy for a dentist to fix.
Avulsed (knocked out) teeth: One of the most serious dental emergencies you could experience is the avulsed (or knocked out) tooth. Surprisingly, this may not be as uncommon as you’d think, particularly during sporting events. With avulsed teeth, more so than with any other type of dental emergency, timing is crucial. If you can get the tooth replaced within half an hour, the likelihood of a complete recovery is much greater.
What should I do when faced with a dental emergency?
So, what should you do when faced with one of these dental emergencies? Again, we’ll separate the best type of response into the three main types of emergencies:
Toothaches: Because you can never be sure if a toothache is going to go away quickly, your first response to a toothache should be treating the pain. Basic, over the counter pain relievers are typically enough to numb the area. Clove oil and chamomile are natural anti-inflammatories. Sucking on a piece of ice could help as well, though depending on the reason for the toothache you may experience sensitivity to the cold. If the toothache persists, you should contact a dentist to get further advice.
Chips and cracks: Since the causes of chips and cracks tend to be more violent in nature, you should start out by cleaning out mouth when faced when something like this happens. Rinse out your mouth taking care not to cut yourself on the sharp edges of a tooth to keep the area clean and prevent infection. After that, you can treat the pain with normal painkillers and ice again. To make sure the sharp edges left behind by a chip don’t hurt your mouth more, you can put a bit of dental wax or sugar-free gum over the area while you wait to get in see your dentist.
Avulsed teeth: With an avulsed tooth, first of all, clean out both your mouth and the tooth. If possible, you should try to fit the tooth back in the socket as close to normal as possible. If you can’t do that, you can keep the tooth in a cup of milk or inside your cheek to preserve it while you wait for your dentist. After about half an hour, your gums will cease to recognize the tooth as part of the mouth, so getting to the dentist as quickly as possible is vital.
Most importantly, if you ever face a dental emergency, don’t panic. Your dentist will know exactly what to do to restore your smile. You can call Dr. Mason Konkle, Dr. Jennifer Konkle and Dr. Hyrum Hatch at Hatch Family Dentistry at any time to get immediate treatment. We’ll do whatever we can to help you with your situation.