There are many ways we can hurt our teeth; however, it is important to know when the injury is an actual emergency. With the proper knowledge, when you identify your injury as an emergency, then it is best to contact your dentist right away, if it is within office hours, or go to the emergency room (ER) right away.
The first, most common, condition is dental caries, known as cavities. These guys are characterized by destruction of enamel and dentine leading to pain. If a dental cavity are left alone, they will become necrotic. Necrosis then lead to abscesses that spreads to the soft tissue causing cellulitis. When this happens, you need immediate antibiotic treatment to avoid root canal or tooth extraction.
Next, there is a disease known as pericoronitis, an inflammation of soft tissue that overlies a partially erupted tooth. The treatment involves irrigation of the affected area, and cellulitis can also develop. When there is avulsion of a permanent tooth due to trauma, this is a true dental emergency! A cosmetic dentist will have to re-implant the tooth right away and with antibiotic prophylaxis.
Some common emergencies and what to do on your own, and a couple of steps that you can take:
1. Knocked-out permanent tooth/adult tooth
- Keep it moist
- Or keep the tooth in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or a tooth preservation product that has been approved by the ADA
- Get to the dentist as soon as possible.
2. Cracked Tooth
- Immediately rinse your mouth with warm water
- Put cold compresses on our face to keep any swelling down
- Go to the dentist asap!
- Rinse your mouth with warm water
- Use dental floss to remove any food between teeth
- Do NOT put aspirin on an aching tooth or the gum tissue.
These are a few more emergencies our dentists are capable of helping you through:
- Reversible pulpitis -treated with a simple filling
- Irreversible pulpitis – treated with root canal or extraction
- Tooth luxation – treated with splinting, may need a root canal or extraction
- Tooth fracture – treated with a simple reimplantation and splinting
- Tooth avulsion (more common than you may think) – treated with reimplantation and splinting alone
A recent study done in the United States showed that 22% of the population has experienced orofacial pain within a six-month period, and 12% have had toothache. Most dental emergencies can be prevented by reducing one’s ingestion of sugar-containing food items and regular dental care. Most importantly, regular brushing and flossing can minimize all your risks.
Furthermore, regular dental visits and early treatment are advised for all dental emergencies. The dentists at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas are here for all your dental emergencies. For any concerns or questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment, contact us today.