Your teeth are the hardest material in your body. However, for all of their strength, your teeth can be vulnerable.
Dental problems and oral injuries can wreak havoc on your life. Worse yet is when a dental problem becomes a dental emergency. How can you tell when a dental issue requires emergency care? And what steps should you take when facing a dental emergency?
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A toothache can produce severe pain. Toothaches should be taken seriously. However, toothaches do not constitute a dental emergency. Speak to your dentist when you have a toothache. Your dentist can help you determine if you need immediate care or if care can be provided during a future scheduled visit.
Severe toothaches, a tooth abscess, or teeth that have been knocked out are typically dental emergencies. Dental emergencies happen when you are playing sports, you are at work, or you are just roughhousing with friends and family. An infected tooth abscess, if left untreated, could become fatal.
Signs that you are dealing with a dental emergency include:
· A tooth that has been knocked out
· Extreme tooth sensitivity
· An extreme toothache that does not get better
· Gums that will not stop bleeding
· Serious jaw injuries
· Swelling along with pain
· Swollen face with a toothache
If you are dealing with any of these issues, call your dentist immediately. Most dentists have an emergency number so you can get in contact with them no matter the reason. If you cannot reach your dentist, you may need to visit the emergency room to get the care you need.
Serious yet Non-Emergency Dental Situations
There are other dental situations that are serious but do not classify as an emergency. Some examples of these could be:
· A lost crown or filling
· Damaged night guard or retainer
· Food stuck between teeth
· Mild chip in the tooth
· Mild tooth sensitivity
It is still up to your dentist to make the final determination. Contact them as soon as possible. Your dentist will let you know if the situation can wait a few days or if you need to have it treated immediately.
Caring for a Dental Emergency at Home
To be clear, all dental emergencies require professional care from your dentist. However, you might do some things at home to minimize the discomfort you feel and increase the chances of saving your teeth.
· Stay calm. Tooth injuries can produce a lot of blood. This can be shocking. Also, tooth pain can be severe. However, if you give in to panic, your body will respond by triggering several processes that will make the emergency worse.
· Use Cold. A cold compress can minimize swelling, numb the pain, and slow down bleeding.
· Use Floss. If your teeth are hurting, it might be because something is lodged between your teeth and your gums. Flossing can help remove the obstruction.
· Use Milk. If a tooth gets knocked out, put it in milk until you can get to the dentist.
· Use Over-The-Counter Medication. Over-the-counter medication can ease any discomfort. It may make the condition tolerable until you can get the care you need from a dentist.
· Use Saltwater. You can dissolve salt into a cup of warm water and then use it to relieve irritation and reduce swelling.
Prevention Is Better Than a Cure
Suffering a dental emergency can be agonizing. You can prevent future dental emergencies from occurring by wearing a mouth guard if playing sports and visiting your dentist twice a year for a comprehensive visit. The better you take care of your teeth and the more regular you are with dental visits, the less likely it is that you will have something painful or something unexpected happens to your teeth.