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Posted on: June 11, 2020
When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Rockledge
Do You Know the Signs of a Dental Emergency?
When you have a dental emergency, it seems like your world comes to a screeching halt. You’re likely in pain, you can’t eat or smile, and you’re unsure of the steps to take to get help. Dental emergencies can also be expensive, so you may have financial concerns added to the mix. Knowing what to do when an emergency arises, as well as the steps to take to prevent an urgent issue, can make you much more confident should you or a loved one face a dental emergency.
What Causes Dental Emergencies?
Although accidents happen, the most frequent cause of a dental emergency is improper oral hygiene, so one of the best preventions for dental emergencies is to adopt good oral hygiene practices. The CDC reports that emergency oral care occurrences account for more than 34 million lost educational hours and $45 billion of lost job productivity each year.
One of the main determining factors in classifying an injury is the level of pain involved. Since pain tolerance is unique to the individual, as is their willingness to tolerate it, you must decide the level of pain and discomfort that your dental issue is causing. If you have a dull, throbbing pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter pain medications and the pain interferes with your sleep, then you should seek immediate treatment. Cavities can be excruciatingly painful. The CDC estimates that 26 percent of adults in the U.S. and 66 percent of U.S. adolescents have cavities and they term it “one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood.” Left untreated, cavities can become abscesses, so if you have “just a cavity” don’t ignore it until it becomes a dental emergency.
Anytime you have an injury to the interior of your mouth, you should seek emergency services from a dentist in your area. Whether you have suffered a cut, a laceration, a tear or a puncture wound, you need to get immediate treatment. Your dentist will clean and treat the wound, as well as ensure that there’s been no damage to the surrounding area. Additional reasons that you might need dental emergency treatment include:
- Damage to your bridge
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Losing a crown or filling or porcelain veneer, particularly when you’re eating
- Change in temperature sensitivity when you eat or drink
Do You Have One or More of These 7 Signs of a Dental Emergency in Rockledge?
If you or one of your loved ones experiences any of the following, you have a dental emergency and should seek treatment right away.
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop: If you’ve had an extraction or experienced a facial trauma and you can’t stop the bleeding, seek immediate treatment from a dentist. Uncontrolled bleeding is called hemorrhaging and is extremely serious, so don’t delay getting to a dentist.
- Facial edema: Although facial swelling can have many causes, some of them are quite serious and should be treated immediately. A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can cause your face to swell and it can be life-threatening. An infection, inflammation, a fracture or a dislocated TMJ can also cause swelling and should be considered a dental emergency in all cases.
- Fractured jaw: If you think you’ve fractured your jaw or just want to be sure that you haven’t, you should seek emergency dentistry to ensure that your teeth aren’t damaged or permanently misaligned.
- Knocked-out tooth: If you’ve had a tooth knocked out and can get to an emergency dental clinic within an hour, the dentist may be able to reinsert the tooth. The ADA suggests that those who are involved in high-impact activities should keep an emergency tooth-preservation kit available. Be sure that the kit is ADA approved.
- Dislodged or cracked filling: A broken filling can expose your tongue and the inside of your cheeks to very sharp edges that can cause damage. This requires immediate treatment so that there’s no further damage to the tooth and surrounding area.
- Dry socket infection and pain: Fewer than five percent of people experience a dry socket after an extraction, but if you’re one of them, you know that it can be very painful. A dry socket occurs when the blood doesn’t clot in the socket after the extraction, leaving the bone and nerves exposed to air, liquid, and food particles and causing excruciating pain that radiates to the neck and the ear. It can cause dizziness and you may notice a disagreeable odor coming from the socket, which indicates that an infection is present. This condition is a dental emergency and requires urgent attention.
- Gum injury: If you’ve sustained a cut to your gums or a deep gouge, then you need treatment without delay. Your dentist will clean and treat the area and ensure that there’s no damage to the surrounding teeth.
Is an Abscessed Tooth Considered a Dental Emergency?
An abscessed tooth is a serious condition that can damage the surrounding gum tissues, spread to the bloodstream and the bone marrow, as well as the vital organs. It can cause sepsis and mediastinitis, which is irritation and edema of the area between the lungs. It can also be fatal, so, yes, it is a very serious condition. When treated in a timely manner, the prognosis is good, but too many people think “it’s just a bad cavity” and don’t seek treatment until the abscess has caused serious damage. Up to 40 percent of those who develop mediastinitis die from it. The best prevention for an abscess is to practice good oral hygiene. The most common causes include:
- Unsuccessful root canal
- Trauma that fractures or cracks a tooth
- Wisdom teeth that haven’t fully erupted
An abscess is a bacterial infection and it’s extremely painful. When you visit an emergency dentist, they’ll drain the abscess and prescribe antibiotics, and then evaluate the tooth to determine whether it can be saved or if you’ll need a root canal.
Is a Cracked Tooth Considered a Dental Emergency?
A broken, chipped or cracked tooth is an emergency situation and you should get treatment without delay. You can break or crack a tooth by biting on ice or hard candy or other foods, or it can be the result of facial trauma. If you’re active in high-contact sports such as hockey, football or basketball, your dentist may recommend that you wear a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth. If you suffer from bruxism, then a mouthguard can protect your teeth from further erosion. If a custom-fitted mouthguard isn’t an option, you can buy a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite model, but be sure that your mouthguard carries the ADA seal of acceptance. This will ensure that the product is safe and will protect your teeth when used correctly.
The best method for preventing dental emergencies is to engage in good oral hygiene practices. However, when an accident happens or an unexpected crisis occurs, call our Dental Care Alliance office for an appointment or use our same-day, walk-in dental service. We adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards and provide the best possible treatment, so call us today or, if you prefer, you can schedule an appointment online. We look forward to working with you.