Emergency Dentistry Can Save Your Teeth
Accidents don’t send an arrival notice. They come abruptly and at the oddest times. You always eat chicken but today the bone damages your fillings. Your son plays basketball every weekend and this time he fell and had two anterior teeth knocked out. You never had a toothache and at midnight, it just won’t heed to painkillers. So what do you do?
Dental accidents constitute an emergency and deciding what to do depends on their nature. Here’s a list of dental emergencies and a tip on what action you should take in each case.
First-time toothaches announce gum infection or teeth that have been exposed to trauma.
Tip: Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and floss to eliminate any food particles between teeth. A pain killer may be opportune if the pain is unbearable. See your dentist as soon as you can.
Knocked-out teeth can result from blows or falls. These should be replaced as soon as possible for two reasons. First, gaps caused by fallen teeth can cause shifting of adjacent teeth. Second, if placed back in the jaw when the nerves and tissues are still fresh, the tooth stands a chance of reattaching to the jaw.
Tip: If possible, replace the tooth in its socket without harming the gum tissue. If you cannot, keep it between the teeth and the cheeks and if you are not comfortable with that, soak the tooth in milk while you go or wait to visit your dentist. Keeping the tooth moist keeps the nerves and tissues alive.
If your mouth is bleeding without triggers such as brushing, it could be a reaction to medication or health issues in other parts of the body. If bleeding comes with brushing, it could be the onset of gum disease.
Tip: Talk to your dentist if you are on medication and your gum is bleeding without a notable cause and see a general physician for an overall body checkup. If your bleeding comes every time you brush, see your periodontist ASAP.
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Inflammation and abscesses
While inflammation could be indicative of gum disease, abscesses can announce infection or even cancer, especially if they are without pain.
Tip: Both inflammation and abscess should be treated as an emergency and the attention of a dentist sought immediately. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can ease the pain and sanitize the swelling.
Losing the appeal of your smile through dental accidents can be upsetting. This could mean an artificial tooth falling off, a crack on the enamel of your anterior teeth or lost fillings, crowns and braces.
Tip: Take advantage of your odontologist’s professional empathy and schedule an early morning visit or an emergency visit over the lunch hour.
Preventing dental emergencies
While accidents may come unexpected, it is possible to take precautionary measures to avoid dental emergencies:
- Stick to the dual rule of the thumb: brush your teeth twice daily to keep infections at bay and visit your dentist twice a year to preempt emergency dental issues.
- Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth from trauma when playing sports that may cause falls or blows.
- Beware of objects that could cause cracks to your teeth such as ice or tongue rings.
- Do not open bottles or break hard objects using your teeth.
Finding emergency dental care
You can take safety or responsive measures for dental emergencies by considering these options:
- Having a family dentist whom you can call when emergencies occur.
- Calling the emergency number of your dentist after office hours to create an alert or access instruction on how to receive help from an alternative number.
- Visiting the emergency room of the nearest health facility when your dentist cannot be accessed.
- Getting a referral from your family dentist when dental emergencies happen away from home or searching the internet for reliable dental clinics near you.
As a general rule, be preemptive and talk to your family dentist about responding to dental emergencies to avoid being stuck when they happen.