Emergency Dental Care – Overview
Emergency dental care is the dental service professionals provide in case of a dental emergency. Dental emergencies are situations where you experience discomfort, swelling or pain that can potentially cause significant issues in the future.
It is important to know the difference between when to seek standard dental care and when to seek emergency dental care.
When is Emergency Dental Care Useful?
According to a survey by American Family Physicians, around 22% of patients report experiencing oral pain in the last six months, which proves how common dental care is. Still, not every dental problem calls for emergency treatment.
So, the next time you feel pain or discomfort in the dental region, simply ask yourself the following questions to determine if you need emergency dental care:
- Is the pain severe? Severe pain accompanied by bleeding can be a sign of a dental emergency.
- Have you lost a tooth? Prompt dental treatment can effectively save a tooth
- Do you have loose teeth? Adults should not have loose teeth, even if they do not feel pain, as these can cause serious problems later on.
- Do you have an infection? A serious infection or even an abscess in the mouth can have potentially life-threatening consequences and require immediate treatment.
- Are you bleeding from the mouth? Bleeding from the mouth is a potential sign that you need emergency dental care.
Generally, any dental problem that requires immediate attention and treatment, such as to stem the bleeding, relieve pain or save a tooth, justifies the use of emergency dental care services.
What Are the Most Common Problems Treated with Emergency Dental Care?
Here are some of the most common problems of the mouth that call for emergency dental care:
1 – Inexplicable toothache
Toothaches are not only painful and irritating, but they are a signal from your body that something is wrong in the mouth. When you experience an abrupt acute toothache, find a qualified emergency dentist to diagnose and treat the root cause of the tooth pain.
Besides this, you can try the following to alleviate the pain till you reach the dentist:
- Put a cold compress
- Rinse mouth with salt-water
- Use over-the-counter painkillers to alleviate the ache
2 – Bleeding/Swollen Gums
Not all gum irritations call for emergency dental care, but it is essential to seek dental care when your gums bleed incessantly. This is crucial to do especially if the bleeding is accompanied by swelling and pain, as this can be a sign of an underlying health or dental problem.
There is a specific reason every time your gums bleed, so it is advisable to seek emergency dental care in this case.
3 – Swollen Mouth/Jaw
If you have swelling in the jaw or mouth for no apparent reason, then it is time to visit emergency dental care. The unexplained swelling in the mouth or jaw could be caused by several reasons, such as irritation of the lymph nodes, infection or similar reasons.
4 – Exposed nerves
Exposed nerves are excruciating to bear and the pain only worsens until you go to a dentist. It is highly advisable to seek emergency dental care in case of exposed nerves. This can help prevent further nerve damage, infection, and the need for more extensive dental treatments.
5 – Missing teeth
If you lose teeth from a heavy blow, it may take some time to get over the initial shock. However, according to studies by the American Association of Endodontists, dentists are able to preserve and reinsert fallen teeth if the patient seeks emergency dental care promptly.
However, before getting to the dentist’s, you should take the following precautions:
- Pick up the fallen tooth carefully by the top and do not touch the tooth
- Rinse it quickly but do not scrub
- Try to reinsert the tooth back into the socket, if possible
- If not, then you should place the fallen tooth in a container filled with water or milk
- Next, you should find a way to reach a dentist as quickly as possible with the teeth
6 – Missing filling
Losing a tooth-filling is another reason to seek emergency medical care, as the tooth can potentially get chipped or break away without reinforcement. This may even expose the nerves of the tooth, which can create various dental problems. Hence, it is advised to go for emergency dental care if you are missing a tooth filling.
Emergency dental care is meant for situations where prompt treatment can help make a huge difference in the outcome. For instance, if your teeth get knocked out, or you find your mouth swollen or painful for no apparent reason, then you should immediately seek emergency dental care.
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