A dental emergency can happen unexpectedly. It comes with a lot of pain which we feel in our teeth or gums. Knowing firsthand about what is considered a dental emergency will help us get the needed treatment without putting ourselves at risk. Also, knowing how to act will keep us safe until we contact dental professionals.
The Common Types Of Dental Emergencies With Basic First Aid
The word “dental” involves the teeth, gums, jaw, and the tissue in your mouth. If you are a person engaged in a lot of physical activities such as sports, a dental emergency could happen to you at any time. But anyone can be a possible victim of a dental emergency. Below is a list of some common dental emergencies with a little information on what you can do before getting to the dentist or the emergency room:
- A knocked-out tooth – A lot of situations could lead to having your tooth knocked out by force. A knocked-out tooth will cause a lot of shock to you and will cause bleeding and pain. But there is still a hint of good news here: There is a chance a dentist can still reattach the knocked-out tooth. Here are some things to do to save your tooth:
- Pick up the knocked-out tooth by the crown and not the root
- Rinse with water only without scrubbing
- Place the tooth in a small container with milk to preserve tooth before going to the dentist
- If a tooth can no longer be saved, you can still have an implant
- Abscessed tooth – A tooth abscess is a severe dental problem. An abscess is what happens when pus develops in your tooth’s region, causing an infection that extends into your gums. It causes discomfort, fever, tooth sensitivity, and more severe issues like making the lymph nodes on your neck feel tender. The infection from a tooth abscess can spread to other parts of your body. An abscess in your tooth should be addressed right away. While you wait for your dentist confirmation you can do these things:
- Rinse your mouth with mild saltwater focusing on the area of an abscess, several times to relieve pain and soften the abscess bringing pus to the surface
- Broken, Cracked, Chipped Tooth – here are times when we do not notice having a cracked tooth. But when you experience severe illness with a chipped or cracked tooth, this requires emergency treatment. When this happens here a few things to do on the spot:
- Clean the mouth with some warm water
- Apply a cold compress to the part of your face closest to the chipped tooth. Doing this will reduce swelling.
- DO NOT use any numbing gel to avoid damage to your gums
- Injured Jaw – An injured jaw can be extremely painful. And because your jaw is part of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), it is what’s considered a dental emergency. An injured jaw causes severe pain that results in difficulty in talking, breathing, and eating. When you experience any jaw injury such as a dislocated or broken jaw, treat is as an emergency. Before you get to the doctor, you can do the following:
- Hold your lower jaw to stabilize it
- Breathe in and breathe out calmly to avoid pain.
- Keep your airways open. Do not block your airways.
Other Common Dental Concerns With Basic First Aid
Some dental concerns are not as urgent as the ones mentioned above. Depending on the degree of pain you are experiencing, it can still escalate to a more severe case, turning it into a dental emergency. If you know how to handle simple dental concerns, you can avoid serious dental emergencies. Below are some examples of dental concerns that do not require immediate attention:
- Toothaches – toothaches are a widespread concern. People of all ages can get a cavity, especially when coupled with poor dental hygiene. A toothache can have varying levels of pain. Note: An abscess can cause a severe toothache; for this case, it must be an emergency.
- To address A mild to moderate toothache quickly, you can do some of these things:
- Use lukewarm water to rinse your mouth thoroughly
- Remove anything lodged between the teeth gently with a dental floss
- You can also use an over the counter pain killer – but be careful not to burn the gums
- If it is swelling, use a cold compress on the outer area of your mouth—by the jaw or the cheek
- A tooth crown or tooth filling lost – If you are experiencing pain and cannot see the dentist immediately, you can do some of the following:
- You can use toothpaste to hold your crown in place before getting to the dentist
- A missing dental filling can be held in place by a piece of sugar-free gum
Because this dental concern can be extremely inconvenient, it can also be considered a matter of urgency though it isn’t an emergency.
- Braces or wires that broke – This issue can be very inconvenient since broken wires can cause injury to the soft tissue surrounding your teeth like the inside part of your mouth and your gums. Wires will be an obvious annoyance when eating as well. Here are a few things you can do to lessen the inconvenience:
- Cover the end of the wire with some orthodontic wax, cotton ball or gauze so it will not cut your mouth
- DO NOT attempt to cut the wires yourself
Anything can happen. In our day to day lives, we need to be ready to face any form of emergency—including a dental emergency. Now, you know what’s considered a dental emergency, as well as a handful of steps you can take if it happens. Remember: caring for ourselves also involves caring for our dental health! Find out more about first aid.