Good dental health is the responsibility of every person as it guarantees healthy teeth, mouth, and gums. It also helps a person enjoy an improved appearance as well as the quality of life. A problem with your teeth, gums, or mouth can make it difficult for you to speak and chew your food. It could be painful as well. To avoid such issues to escalate into more painful and expensive procedures, we offer emergency dental services such as emergency tooth extraction at Northridge Emergency Dentist. Our emergency dentist is always on call to ensure that he/she deals with your issues as soon as you come to our office.

Dental Emergencies and What They Entail

Dental emergencies are issues that involve the teeth and supporting tissues that are considered of more importance and should, therefore, be treated immediately by the relevant professional. Contrary to what many expect, dental emergencies will not always involve pain, though it is a common sign that urgent attention is needed. If there is a pain, it could come from the tooth itself, or its surrounding tissues. The patient could also have a sensation that is originating from their teeth but which could be caused by something else other than the teeth, for instance, a toothache or orofacial pain.

An experienced clinician will consider the type of pain you are experiencing to determine its actual cause, as well as the issue that requires treatment. Note that every type of dental tissue gives out a different message when it comes to dental emergencies.

There are many causes for dental emergencies, ranging from fungal, bacterial and viral infections, to fractured teeth and dental restorations. Each of these requires a different response and treatment, which is unique to the situation. Dental fractures or trauma can, for instance, occur on any part of a tooth or its surrounding bone. Treatment for the same will depend on the location and extent of the fracture.

Dental restorations are considered emergency services because they affect the functioning of the affected parts. Teeth that are falling off, for instance, will affect your appearance, how you eat, and how you pronounce words. For that reason, they should be attended to as fast as a dentist will attend to lost tooth tissue.

There is a need to conduct all dental emergencies under the guidance or supervision of dental care professionals for an excellent outcome and also to preserve the teeth for as long as it is possible. Some of the dental issues that could require urgent attention include:

  • Dental pain: It could result from many conditions or diseases, and is the reason why a lot of people seek dental emergency care. There are two kinds of dental pain: Odontogenic pain, which is associated with the teeth, and Peri-radicular pain that comes mainly due to diseases.
  • Dental trauma: It mainly occurs as a result of an injury to the soft and hard tissues surrounding the oral cavity or the face.
  • Broken or lost filling: In case of a dislodged, ditched, lost, or broken filling, a person could experience discomfort or great pain due to the jagged edges. It could require immediate restoration.
  • Broken crowns, dentures or loose implants

Emergency Tooth Extraction

When you are experiencing dental pain or trauma, it is not always clear what the best treatment will be. It is usually the decision of your dentist on whether or not to extract the tooth, depending on what would be best for your health at that instant. Even with the advancements in endodontic and dental treatment, some issues will still call for an emergency tooth extraction. Note that dentists will always do their best to help save your tooth, but there are instances when the tooth gets damaged to the extent that it cannot be saved. Some of the main reasons why you may need an emergency tooth extraction will be discussed below.

Tooth extraction is not an unusual thing, especially for children, when they start shedding their milk teeth. After their permanent teeth have developed, dentists only advise for proper care to ensure that your natural teeth remain healthy and in good shape. However, there are instances when the extraction of a permanent tooth becomes inevitable. Some of these instances are when the tooth is severely damaged or decayed. In such cases, your dentist will speak to you about the extraction and other options, then give you time to make your decision.

A dentist or an oral surgeon can perform a tooth extraction. The procedure is done under local anesthesia that is used to numb the area around where the tooth will be extracted. In some instances, for instance, when the tooth is severely damaged, a much stronger general anesthesia may be used. It will help prevent pain throughout the patient’s body and also make them sleep throughout the procedure. If, for example, the tooth has been impacted, the dentist will open up the gum and bone tissues that are covering the tooth, and then use their tools to hold and rock it back and forth until it comes out successfully.

Reasons for Emergency Tooth Extraction

Just like most dental and health issues, tooth extraction can require immediate attention. It all depends on the state of the tooth and the condition of the patient. Most dental offices have an emergency dentist who handles every emergency dental issue that their clients experience. While the goal of every dentist is to try and save their patient’s teeth, there are instances when the best way out for a patient is to have the tooth extracted immediately. Some of these instances include:

A Fractured Tooth under the Gums

There are many causes of fractured teeth, among them being teeth grinding and chewing hard foods. Sometimes cracking of teeth happens naturally as a person ages. A broken tooth is a prevalent condition and a leading cause of tooth loss in the country today. When a person is chewing food, they exert a lot of pressure on their teeth that could eventually lead to their cracking. Other causes of fractured teeth include:

  • Increased pressure from teeth grinding
  • Large fillings that ultimately weaken the integrity of a tooth
  • Chewing on hard foods such as nuts, hard candy, and ice
  • A blow to the mouth, for instance, if a person has been involved in an accident. Sports injuries, fistfights, and falls could also cause teeth cracking
  • A sudden change of temperature in the mouth. If a person eats something extremely hot and immediately tries to cool their mouth with something extremely cold like ice water, it could eventually cause your teeth to crack
  • Old age, mainly because most teeth fractures occur to people over the age of 50

There are many types of tooth fractures, with most of them those that do not reach the gum line. Most of these can be saved. However, if the split goes beyond the gum line, the tooth will require immediate extraction.

A fractured tooth becomes an emergency if it causes pain when the person is biting or chewing, especially once the patient releases their bite. If it is not dealt with immediately, the person may not be able to eat anything. Pain could also be experienced, and sometimes a massive swelling around the affected tooth. In that case, there is no need to book an appointment and wait for the tooth to be extracted.

After examination and it is noted that the tooth, its roots, and nerves below it are severely damaged, the only option at that moment will be to extract the tooth.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are usually the third molars that come out in the back of the mouth when a person is in their late teens. A person can decide to keep them or not, depending on how healthy they are, if they have fully erupted and whether or not they have positioned correctly and functioning well together with the teeth opposite them. They should also be easy to clean as part of daily oral health hygiene.

However, there comes a time when wisdom teeth develop, but they do not have enough room to grow well. In this case, they cause the person problems such as pain. Without enough space, wisdom teeth can grow at different angles in the human jaw, with some growing horizontally. Other issues associated with wisdom teeth include:

  • Wisdom teeth that have remained completely buried under the gums. If there is not enough space, these teeth will not emerge normally, and so, they get trapped or impacted within the person’s jaw. When this happens, the person could get an infection or develop a cyst that could damage the roots of other teeth and bone support. That is why these teeth should be removed as soon as this is spotted, through emergency tooth
  • Some wisdom teeth will emerge partially through the gum. Since the area where they develop is not easy to see and clean, those teeth that appear partly could create a way for the growth of bacteria that can result in oral infections and gum diseases. Again, wisdom teeth that have emerged halfway should be extracted as soon as they are spotted.
  • Others crowd the nearby teeth, especially if they do not have enough room to sprout correctly. When this happens, they can damage or affect the growth of the other teeth, resulting in a more serious oral issue

Some of the problems with ill-developed wisdom teeth that call for an emergency extraction include:

  • Pain
  • Cysts or fluid-filled sacs
  • Repeated infections on the soft tissue behind the last tooth
  • Tumors
  • Damage to the teeth nearby
  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Gum disease

Severe Tooth Decay

Tooth decay starts when the enamel of your tooth starts softening, causing damage to the structure of the tooth. Tooth decay is mainly caused by acids that get created when the plaque bacteria break down sugar that is in your mouth. Once the mineral lost on your enamel is not treated, a cavity on the tooth will eventually occur. Without proper and timely intervention, holes can grow even more significant over time and could end up destroying the tooth entirely.

Plaque acid does not stop at the enamel; it could proceed to eat away at the adjacent tooth later, called the dentin, resulting in the root cavity. When that happens, the nerves of the affected tooth become exposed, causing the person to experience pain when drinking or eating. If you are experiencing pain near the rook of your tooth, there could be a chance that you might be having tooth decay. It is essential to consult with a dentist as soon as possible.

The only way to keep your teeth from developing cavities is by taking good care of them. It also boosts your overall wellbeing. Dental cavities are the most common result of decayed teeth and are always a sign of poor oral hygiene and health. Tooth decay will result from an untreated plaque as well as tartar buildup.

A dentist will only be able to save the tooth if there is a more healthy structure than the decayed structure. However, if the cavity goes beyond what the dentist can repair through filling, root canal, or crown, the patient will need an emergency extraction of the affected tooth. As the tooth continues to decay, some cavity symptoms start to appear. Some of the signs that should not be ignored include:

  • Pain in the form of a toothache
  • The pressure that could be in the form of tooth sensitivity and pain when the person is biting something
  • A noticeable hole on the affected tooth. There are times when these holes are only visible on a dental x-ray
  • Pus around the tooth. Discharge is the most severe and noticeable symptom of severe tooth decay

Periodontal Disease

It is a gum disease that mainly results from inflammation and infection of the gums and the bones that support and surround the teeth. Periodontal disease starts with gingivitis, a condition in which the gums become swollen and reddish, which sometimes is accompanied by bleeding. In this case, periodontal disease is a more severe form of gingivitis. When the condition becomes more serious, the gums will pull away from the teeth, jawbone could be lost, and the teeth can eventually loosen up and fall off. The disease is common in adults more than children and is among the biggest threats to dental health.

The primary cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the mouth, which infects tissues surrounding the teeth, resulting in inflammation around the teeth. When bacteria are allowed to stay on a tooth for a long time, it could form a film that is referred to as plaque. Plaque hardens into tartar or calculus, and its build-up can spread out to even below the gum line. When this happens, your teeth become even harder to clean. A person needs the help of a professional dentist at that instant to have tartar removed and probably stop the process of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is reversible, especially with routine cleaning of the teeth and practice of good oral hygiene. However, once it progresses into periodontal disease, the condition may not be rectified. Since the disease attacks the gums and other support structures of the teeth, your teeth may need immediate extraction once the gums recede enough. Your teeth cannot function well with less support. Again, there are symptoms of periodontal disease that would call for immediate extraction. Some of these are:

  • A bad taste or breath that will not go away
  • Reddish, swollen gums
  • Tender and bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Painful chewing

Crowded Teeth

It is a condition whereby a person has more teeth than their jaw can handle. When a person does not have enough room in their jaw for the teeth to fit normally, their teeth could overlap, bunch up and sometimes twist. Some teeth could be pushed to the front while others to the back. When this happens, the person’s physical appearance is affected, and they may find it difficult to even smile. 

Again, crowded teeth are hard to keep clean. The person cannot brush or floss well, making it easier for harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar to build up. Eventually, the person could experience gum disease and tooth decay. If left to develop in that condition, crowded teeth will even get worse with time, which is why extraction is an excellent solution to create room for other teeth to grow well.

There are several solutions to crowded teeth, for instance, Invisalign. However, tooth extraction is necessary for some patients. If your dentist feels that aligners cannot fix the problems you are experiencing, they may suggest immediate extraction to give other teeth enough room to develop. Again, the removal of teeth could be used to prepare the patient’s mouth for orthodontic treatment.

How to Tell That You Need Emergency Tooth Extraction

It is only a dentist that can tell whether or not you will need an extraction, depending on the condition of your tooth. However, you need to have experienced specific symptoms, which should make you see a dentist right away:

  • Pain or pressure while chewing
  • Any toothache, whether mild, sharp, persistent or intermittent
  • Temperature or air sensitivity
  • Tooth damage such as chipping or cracking
  • Swelling on the mouth, jaw or lip
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding teeth or gums

These symptoms are a clear indication that something is happening to you need that requires the urgent attention of a dentist. Once the dentist examines the tooth and realizes that the damage or infection cannot be treated, they will recommend extraction. Extraction, in this case, will be a way to save you from the pain you are experiencing, to protect the remaining teeth from further damage or a way to start treatment for the affected part.

Aftercare for Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions can be expected to heal from 7-10 days, though it largely depends on the type of removal and the location of the tooth in your mouth. After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. The most important thing for a patient is to ensure that the blood clot stays in place. If the clot is dislodged, it can result in a dry socket, which is usually very painful.

To resume the full functioning of your mouth, you need to help speed up the healing process. There are several things you can do to achieve that:

  • Take your painkillers as per the doctor’s prescription
  • Let the initial gauze pad stay in place for about three or four hours after the procedure
  • Use an ice bag on the affected area to relieve pain. You can do this immediately after the procedure but only for 10 minutes at a time. If you leave the ice bag on for a very long time, you might damage some tissues
  • Take enough rest, at least 24 hours straight after the operation. You might have to limit your movements in the next few days after the procedure
  • Avoid doing anything that could dislodge the blood clot. It means you should not spit, rinse or use a straw or at least 24 hours following the procedure
  • Avoid smoking until the tooth socket is completely healed
  • After the initial 24 hours, you can start rinsing your mouth with a salt solution of some warm water and salt
  • Prop your head up with pillows when you go to sleep. Lying flat might delay the healing process
  • You could continue flossing and brushing your teeth to avoid an infection. However, you must avoid the extraction area.

Find a Northridge Emergency Dentist Near Me

Visiting a dentist regularly is recommended as a way to identify and treat any dental issues at their early stage. However, some dental problems require an immediate visit to the dentist, such as those that need quick extraction of a tooth. If you are experiencing any pain, swelling, or bleeding on your teeth, it is crucial to visit a dentist right away. At Northridge Emergency Dentist, we offer a wide range of dental emergency services to people living in Northridge, CA. Call us at 818-928-5854 if you are experiencing any issue that cannot wait until your date of appointment.