As with emergency health care services, nobody really wants to think about emergency dental care, but the reality is that sometimes, emergencies do happen, whether we like it or not. Do you know what to do in a dental emergency? Our blog post today offers some things to consider to help you formulate an emergency dental care plan and put your mind at ease.

What Qualifies As a Dental Emergency?

Many different scenarios can fall under the umbrella of a dental emergency, but in general, most cases fall under one of these categories:

  • Traumatic Dental Injury
  • Acute or Persistent Tooth Pain
  • Gum-related Emergency
  • Orthodontic Emergency

Let’s take a look at each case and determine what needs to be done in an emergency.

A Traumatic Dental Injury

This could be anything from a sports injury to a work-related accident, or even a trauma that took place at home (such as tripping and falling down the stairs). If you or a loved one has been in an accident where a tooth or several teeth have been moved or loosened, it’s vital that you seek emergency dental care right away.

If the tooth has been knocked out, carefully pick it up, but avoid touching the root. Wash it ever so gently with water, then place it back correctly in its socket and hold it there gently. Head directly to your dental office or to the emergency room, whichever is most accessible at the moment. It’s best if you can find someone to drive you there, rather than trying to drive to the facility yourself.

If for whatever reason you can’t place the tooth properly in its socket, then you have a couple of options. You can tuck it between your cheek and gum, making sure that you don’t accidentally swallow it, or you can place it in a small container full of cold milk. If none of these is a viable option, then carefully wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or put it in a small, resealable plastic bag, and rush to your nearest emergency center.

You or your loved one will experience the best outcome when treatment is received within six hours of the accident. Speed truly is of the essence when trying to save a tooth that’s been knocked out.

There are other traumatic injuries that aren’t quite as severe and may not need immediate attention, but that are still considered emergency cases that need to be seen as soon as possible. These include a chipped or a cracked tooth. If you break your tooth, try to find and salvage the pieces, and seek dental care right away.

Significant Or Ongoing Tooth Pain

An occasional toothache may be due to nothing more than having bitten something a little too forcefully, having chewed something that was too hot, or having drunk a beverage that was too cold. While any toothache should be checked into, particularly if it recurs, what constitutes an emergency is acute or persistent pain. This can indicate an infection inside the tooth that needs to be treated right away.

The rule of thumb is this: If the pain is occasional or mild, schedule a regular dental appointment. If the pain is throbbing, ongoing, or intense, seek emergency dental care right away.

Gum Emergencies

When it comes to the gums, some patients don’t realize there’s a problem until infection sets in and pain flares up to uncontrollable levels. While this constitutes an emergency, it can be avoided in most instances through regular preventive dental care. If your dentist notices issues with your gums, measures can be taken to ward off emergency situations. If you’re experiencing bleeding of your gums or sensitivity in any part of the gum area, make an appointment to see your dentist soon. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself seeking emergency dental care to try to control the intense pain associated with advanced gum disease.

Another type of gum-related emergency involves an injury. If you have been in any type of accident that has injured the tissues of your gums, cheeks, or tongue, you’ll need to seek care right away either through a dentist who offers emergency dental care, or at a hospital emergency room.

Emergencies Related To Orthodontics

The last major category we want to cover here involves orthodontics. If you’ve experienced any type of trauma to your face that has resulted in any soft tissues being injured by your orthodontic appliances or hardware, such as the wires or brackets lacerating the inside of your mouth, you should seek emergency dental care.

For Regular Checkups And Emergency Care

At Merritt Mill Dental Associates in Salisbury, MD, we are prepared to handle any dental-related issues, whether it’s a standard filling that you need, or you’re facing some kind of dental emergency. Of course, we’re also available for your dental checkups, cleanings, and teeth whitening services, among other services. Reach out to us today to schedule your next dental appointment!