Medical emergencies happen all the time. Imagine getting into an incident or a fight that knocks your teeth out or causes a dental emergency. In such instances, the pain you experience is extreme, and you can’t wait to access the services of a regular dentist. This is where emergency dentistry becomes a huge help. Northridge Emergency Dentist has experts that can help you deal with dental emergencies. We know that nobody chooses to have an emergency. Instead of going to the ER when a dental emergency occurs, why not visit an emergency dentist.
Understanding Emergency Dentistry
Emergency dentistry is an oral healthcare service that patients receive in the event of a dental emergency. The professional who administers this service is referred to as an emergency dentist.
What is Considered a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is a problem involving the teeth and supporting tissues. Thus, making the issue of high importance requiring the treatment of an emergency dentist. It is, however, essential to note that not all dental emergencies involve pain despite being a common signal.
Pain can originate from the surrounding tissues, the tooth, or it can have the sensation of originating from the tooth, but it can have an independent source. Emergency dentistry helps in determining the cause of the pain, and this helps treat the issue accordingly.
So how do you differentiate between a real dental emergency that can kill you and a standard dental issue that can be treated the following day? You do so by considering the following aspects:
- Signs of a dental emergency
- What is not a dental emergency
- Common dental emergencies
Signs of a Dental Emergency
According to American Family Physician, at least 22% of the population have experienced dental emergencies. This goes to show that dental emergencies are becoming quite common. However, not all dental issues are emergencies. To help you determine when you need to visit an emergency dentist, here are signs you should look out for.
- A loose tooth
Wiggly or loose teeth are a regular occurrence for children but not adults. As an adult, your teeth have grown and appropriately matured into sturdy tools that help you speak, eat, and live a healthy life. But if you notice that a tooth is starting to feel loose, then a few things could be wrong. First, a loose tooth is an indication of a tooth injury.
For any adult, this can be quite painful, and you should visit an emergency dentist immediately. Whether the injury came from a fall or a sports accident, it is vital to ensure that your teeth are intact and strong. Also, even though your teeth appear intact, ensure you visit an emergency dentist, as this helps rule out jaw or nerve damage from a fall or accident.
While jaw or nerve damage may not have immediate symptoms, treating this issue beforehand prevents the condition from becoming worse. Another indication of a loose tooth/teeth is a localized infection. Having a dentist check your teeth makes it easy to identify the type of infection and have it treated immediately.
The final sign is dental caries or gum disease. If the loose tooth is causing a toothache, having emergency dental care will help rule out dental caries or gum disease. Getting early treatment can help you keep your tooth and prevent the spread of infection.
- Bleeding and Aching Gums
Bleeding gums is often an early indication of gingivitis or early gum disease. But, if the bleeding is recurring, excessive, and it sometimes leaves your gum(s) aching, this is something that warrants immediate medical attention. Some of these symptoms are common signs of gum disease. Incorporating proper flossing and brushing techniques in your oral care routine can help prevent gum disease.
But, if your gums continue swelling or aching, then it's time to visit an emergency dentist. Catching gum disease in its early stages can help keep your teeth and gums intact and healthy. Untreated gum diseases can leave patients without healthy teeth. It can also affect how you eat, talk, and your ability to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Severe Toothache
The severity of a toothache is a sign that it is time to visit a dentist and get relief from the toothache. If you have a minor toothache, there are several home relief options you can use. But, if none of the relief options work, visit a dentist immediately, as the reasons behind the toothache could be severe. For you to receive treatment, a proper diagnosis is essential, as it treats the root of the problem providing relief immediately. If your toothache pain increases in severity, and it continues to linger aftertouch or sensitivity to temperature, it is time to visit an emergency dentist.
- A Swollen Jaw
A swollen jaw is often an indication of a severe sign of infection, one of which is a salivary gland infection. Anyone experiencing a swollen jaw coupled with fever, a bad taste in the mouth, trouble swallowing or breathing, should seek assistance from an emergency dentist. A salivary gland infection is a bacterial infection caused by the blockage of the salivary glands. This type of blockage prevents your saliva from washing away bacteria and breaking down food. While salivary gland infection is uncommon, it is essential to have a dentist examine any signs, as this ensures nothing is left untreated.
- A Sore That Is Not Getting Better
Sometimes canker sores in your mouth are normal, and they can occur numerous times in any person. However, the only time lesions become a concern is when they become infected or linger for a long time. If you have an open sore that has not healed after two weeks, visit your dentist, as this will help rule out any infection or underlying bacteria.
- Dental Abscess
If you have any symptoms of a dental abscess, it is crucial to make an emergency dentist appointment. A dental abscess is a painful tooth infection found at the root of your teeth. Usually, a dental abscess is caused by severe gum disease or a cavity left untreated. Any trauma to your teeth can also cause a dental abscess to happen. Some of the symptoms you experience include a foul taste, fever, swollen glands, to pus.
It is also essential to remember that these symptoms are also related to other infections. Seeking treatment immediately helps rule out other possible infections. It also ensures you get some form of surgery to drain and treat the infection.
- Constant Headaches
There are several reasons why people experience headaches—stress, eating something cold too quickly, or sickness. But, if your headaches become recurrent and chronic, it may be an indication of another problem. Your head and teeth are connected, so if your jaw or mouth is in pain, it can affect your head and may result in a headache.
If the headaches are constant, you could be grinding your teeth too much or have bruxism. Patients who constantly grind their teeth often experience headaches. If this is your experience, talking to your dentist can help reduce your headaches. Also, if you have any of the warning signs of bruxism—like increased tooth sensitivity or worn down teeth enamel—visit an emergency dentist immediately.
- Getting Extremely Tired
This is one tough symptom to diagnose. Being extremely tired and exhausted can be because of many things in life. But, if you are always tired, one reason for this could be an oral infection. Exhaustion is a sign of different types of infections. It is a good idea to visit your emergency dentist and make sure that the fatigue you feel is not caused by gum disease or an abscessed tooth.
This helps you treat the symptoms as soon as possible. But, if it is not an oral infection, you can rule it out as the reason for your exhaustion.
- A Metal-like Taste in your Mouth
If you have ever had a metal filing before, then you know that when your mouth has a metal-like taste, it can be a sign of loose or cracked old filing. If you experience such symptoms, make sure you seek dental care immediately. A loose or cracked filling can leave your teeth prone to cavities or new infections. If you leave this to correct itself, it is highly likely that you'll experience a cavity, toothache, or a root canal. Emergency dentistry services can help clear any arising infections and place a new filing.
What is Not a Dental Emergency?
If your dental problem can wait until you schedule a regular dentist appointment, then that isn't a dental emergency. Sometimes dental issues that look critical can wait for a day or two as long as you take care of it. For instance, a cracked or chipped tooth becomes an emergency if it is quite painful or if you have leftover fragments that end up causing trauma in your mouth. But, if the chipped tooth doesn't hurt, then you can wait to visit a dentist.
Also, not all toothaches require emergency dentistry services. If the pain from the toothache is not severe and you have no signs of an abscess like bumps on your gums, swelling of the face, or a fever, you can delay making a dentist appointment.
If you have lost a filling or crown and have no metal-like taste, you can also wait a few days to visit your dentist. Other non-urgent dental emergencies include:
- Small chip in your tooth
- Small crack in your tooth
- Food lodged between teeth
- A cracked, broken tooth without pain
Common Dental Emergencies
Here are some of the common dental emergencies.
A toothache is the most popular dental emergencies in patients today. It is also completely unforgiving as it can occur at the office, at home, or even while on vacation. Without immediate treatment, a toothache can lead to severe complications. Some of the different causes of a toothache include tooth fracture, tooth decay, infected gums, and damaged filing, among others.
One of the primary symptoms you experience with a toothache is a pain. The pain can range from severe to mild. Other symptoms include gum and teeth swelling. Remember, toothaches are a sign of a bigger problem. By seeking dental care immediately, the dentist can identify the problem and fix it.
- Semi Dislodged Tooth
Injuries are common in our day-to-day lives. One of the consequences of injuries is a semi dislodged tooth. Accidents while riding your bike or playing your favorite game or when driving can also lead to a partially dislodged tooth. Seeking dental emergency services earlier ensures that your semi dislodged tooth is corrected. As long as the blood vessels and roots are still attached, repairing a partially dislodged tooth is a possibility.
But, make sure you leave the tooth in place, take a painkiller to help with the pain, and visit then visit an emergency dentist.
- Knocked-Out Teeth
Knocked-out teeth are a serious dental emergency. The good news is that fixing this issue is possible. But, it is essential to preserve the knocked-out teeth carefully, as this will help the dentist reinsert your teeth.
Abscesses require urgent dental care when they occur. They are painful and can also cause infection in other parts of your body. An abscess occurs when your teeth trap food particles, and bacteria action leads to acid production that causes swelling.
- Broken or Dislocated Jaw
Having a broken or dislocated jaw is one of the most common dental injuries that happen to individuals involved in car accidents, sporting accidents, or work-related accidents. The impact of the accident releases a strong force that causes the jaw to become fractured or dislocated. Thus, it is highly critical for you to seek immediate dental care to correct the broken jaw. If you don't seek treatment immediately, it can end up affecting how you eat, drink, speak, or breathe.
- Chipped or Cracked Tooth
Despite not being an emergency, a cracked tooth can eventually become a dental emergency. This happens when the pain becomes too much to bear. If this happens, make sure you visit the dentist immediately.
Benefits of Emergency Dentistry
It's no secret that accidents occur, especially when you never expect them. With emergency dentistry, you can be sure that your dental care is taken care of. Some of the benefits of dental emergency services include:
- Pain Relief
Almost all individuals with dental emergencies experience pain. The pain makes them seek immediate help from an emergency dentist to aid in relieving their pain. Prolonged swelling and oral discomfort can prevent you from carrying out your day-to-day activities. By visiting an emergency dentist immediately, you can quickly get the pain relief you desire.
Remember, the longer you wait to obtain dental care, the more unbearable your pain becomes. This, in turn, ends up interfering with your professional and personal life.
- Peace of Mind
Most people avoid visiting a dentist until they are entirely sure their medical issue is now an emergency. But you can never be too careful. If you are in pain, you deserve your peace of mind, make sure you call an emergency dentist immediately. Not calling one, only fills you with worry, and adds to your discomfort and pain.
- Preventive Care
Tooth inflammation and pain might be an indication of a severe issue, such as an abscess infection. These types of infections do not just disappear, and without the right treatment, bacterial infections can spread to your brain, jaw, and neck. In some cases, a bacterial infection like an abscess can lead to sepsis.
While a toothache may not look like a major emergency at first, treating it immediately can prevent the development of a serious issue down the road.
- Treatment Solutions
Individuals with dental emergencies have problems that require immediate attention. From a broken or chipped tooth, a knocked-out tooth, to a lost fixture. Such severe dental issues require immediate treatment solutions, and this is what emergency dental care offers.
How to Handle Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies happen to anyone at any time. Thus, you must understand what you need to do before visiting an emergency dentist. Knowing what to do in different dental emergencies can mean the difference between losing and saving your tooth.
- Broken or Cracked Tooth
A cracked or broken tooth can cause an excruciating toothache, especially if the tooth’s inner pulp is exposed. The inner pulp of the tooth is where the connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves are located. If that area becomes infected or inflamed, the pain becomes excruciating. Some solutions you can try that will offer you temporary pain relief before visiting an emergency dentist include:
- First, rinse your mouth and the broken pieces of your tooth with warm water.
- If your tooth is bleeding, bite down on a fresh gauze pad. Do so until the bleeding stops.
- Apply a cold compress to the outer part of your mouth, lip, or cheek near the affected area to prevent swelling and help in pain relief
- Contact your dentist immediately to treat the broken or chipped tooth
Things to Avoid
Here are some of the things you need to avoid to keep the pain from worsening while waiting to see a dentist.
- Cold and hot food and beverages: Since the tooth’s dentin layer may have been exposed by the break or crack in the tooth, extreme temperatures can increase the pain.
- Acidic and high sugar concentration food and beverages may irritate the tooth’s nerve.
While these remedies may not work in every situation, they only provide a temporary solution to your problem until you visit the dentist.
- Use over-the-counter pain relief medication: You can use ibuprofen or Motrin or Tylenol. However, make sure that the medicine you take is safe to use with any other medication. For instance, try to avoid using aspirin, as it can slow blood clotting and cause problems when you require a root canal.
- Floss between your broken or cracked teeth: Removing plaque and particles from your teeth can help reduce pain. Flossing removes bacteria from the affected area. But, be careful you do not poke the affected tooth too deeply.
- Rinse the affected area with warm salt water: Saltwater works like an antiseptic, and it helps remove bacteria from the broken tooth. Thus, eventually reducing pain.
- Knocked-out Tooth
If you have a knocked-out tooth, first hold the tooth by its crown. Next, rinse off the tooth’s root with water. Do not remove or scrub any attached tissue fragments. If possible, slowly insert the knocked-out tooth back into its socket. Make sure you insert the tooth correctly. If inserting the tooth is not possible, place it in a cup of water or a small container of milk with a pinch of salt. Then see an emergency dentist right away.
When experiencing toothaches, make sure you rinse your mouth with warm water thoroughly. Next, use dental floss to remove any food particles between your teeth safely. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to your cheeks to help relieve swelling and pain. Also, avoid putting any painkillers or aspirin against the gum near the aching teeth because it may burn your gum’s tissue. Then see a dentist immediately.
- Lost Filing
As an impermanent measure, try sticking a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity. Using a sugar-filled gum will increase pain to that particular area. Then, visit your dentist immediately.
- Partially Dislodged Tooth
Until you get to a dentist’s office, try to relieve pain to the affected area by applying a cold compress to the outer part of your mouth. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever if the need arises.
Finding an Emergency Dentist Near Me
Because accidents can happen at any place and time, it is essential not to panic and be prepared. By visiting an emergency dentist immediately, you prevent further issues from developing. At Northridge Emergency Dentist, we are available 24/7. Call us now at 818-928-5854 if you have an emergency situation. You no longer have to wait to access dental care. The sooner you get help, the better you are, the lesser the risks you acquire.