Hopefully you haven’t experienced a dental emergency, but you should be prepared if you ever do. Especially if you have young kids, injuries to the mouth, gums, and teeth often happen and can be very stressful and frightening. Pain in your mouth can interfere with normal life, and you may not know how quickly you need to deal with it. Read on to learn more about common dental emergencies and what to do if you have the misfortune of dealing with one.
Knocked Out Tooth
It is a terrible sight to see your child come in from outside with a mouthful of blood and a gap where a tooth used to be. More than five million teeth are knocked out every year in both children and adults, and knowing what to do when this happens is important. If a tooth is knocked out, getting to an emergency dentist as quickly as possible is extremely important. You will want to find the tooth, and pick it up being careful not to touch to root. Touching the root could end up damaging cells that are necessary for reattachment. You can gently rinse the tooth with water, but don’t use soap or chemicals, and don’t let the tooth dry out. Placing the tooth back in the socket can keep it protected until you get to the dentist, but this might not be easy with a young child. Bring the tooth with you, and hopefully the tooth can still be reattached. Even if the tooth doesn’t completely become dislodged, you can knock out large portions of your tooth and cause trauma to the gums and even the jawbone. Your dentist can patch broken portions of your teeth, or for more extensive damage, can replace the damaged tooth with a crown. If you have a broken or completely knocked out tooth, get to the dentist as quickly as possible.
Sometimes when you take a blow to the mouth, or when you fall and hit your teeth, the teeth do not come out, but instead are pushed back into the jawbone. This is called dental intrusion, and is just as painful and serious as when a tooth becomes completely dislodged. The tooth may be visibly higher than the rest of the teeth in the mouth, and the gums may be inflamed. Get to a dentist as soon as possible is a dental intrusion has occurred, and use ice packs to keep down any swelling. Using a pain reliever can help until you can get to a dentist. Depending on the nature of the intrusion, you will either wait for the tooth to descend, or you may need to do a root canal. Your dentist will advise you as to the best plan of action.
A root fracture is caused by the tooth sustaining direct impact, but it doesn’t produce a noticeable crack. Even though you can’t see anything noticeable in the teeth, a root fracture will produce a good deal of pain and discomfort, especially when eating and drinking hot or cold foods. Placing a cold compress on the affected area and using a pain reliever can help as you get to the dentist. If you have pain after tooth trauma that is not going away, you may want to suspect a root fracture.
If you have pain in your mouth that is increasing, you could have a dental abscess. There are two main types of dental abscesses, periapical and periodontal. A periapical abscess affects the root of the tooth, while a periodontal abscess affects the gums. Both types of abscesses are a pocket that fills with bacteria and can be quite dangerous. While you may not know when you are starting to form a cavity, or if gum disease is just beginning, you will definitely know if you have an abscess. Intense pain is the main symptom, and this pain is not ignored. If you have a gum abscess you may see a lesion in the affected area, and if you have a tooth abscess you will see a bump that looks like a pimple on the gum near the tooth. Either form of abscess requires an emergency dental visit, and you can swish salt water or take pain medication to keep you comfortable before you see the dentist. You will need to get rid of the infection, and antibiotics will probably be prescribed. If you have a tooth abscess you will most likely need a root canal, and if you have periodontal abscesses you will need deep cleaning of the gums that can only be done by a trained dentist. Surgery could be needed if the infection has reached the bone and begun to cause damage. An abscess can develop quickly and be very serious, so get to the dentist as soon as you suspect you may have one.
Your wisdom teeth are your last set of molars that usually erupt in your teens to early twenties. Many people do not have enough space to accommodate these late molars, and they can become impacted and infected. Impacted wisdom teeth can not fully erupt because they are blocked by other teeth, or are facing the wrong way. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and can push your other teeth out of alignment. If your wisdom teeth only partially erupt, food and debris can be trapped under the gum and lead to infection. A wisdom tooth infection is serious, and will need antibiotics to be cleared. See your dentist immediately if you think that your wisdom teeth are impacted or infected.
Losing a crown can be frightening, and leaves a gap in your tooth that may have a sharp, pointy edge. The first step is to find the crown (hopefully you haven’t swallowed it!) and keeping it safe while you get to the dentist. Unlike a natural tooth, a dental crown is porcelain or acrylic and doesn’t need to be kept moist. Your crown can usually be reattached, but you will want to see the dentist quickly so that your underlying tooth doesn’t sustain any further damage or decay. Whether your crown fell out from an injury, tooth grinding, decay, or just biting down, see a dentist as soon as possible to get it back in.
Even though these dental emergencies can be scary (especially if they happen to young children), having a plan in place can make the outcome much better. If you need a good dentist in Towson to trust with any dental emergencies you may face, Kim Dentistry is here for you! Contact us before you are faced with a dental emergency, and you will be assured that you are in good hands if anything happens to your teeth.