Dental emergencies are painful injuries to your teeth that require immediate attention from a qualified dentist — learn more about what to do.
Dental emergencies are common — in fact, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered one. Teeth and bone tend to not heal on their own very easily, but minor soft-tissue injuries can be treated outside your dentist’s office. If, on the other hand, you have suffered damage to your teeth or jaw, this is probably an emergency.
When your teeth suffer damage that might make them painful and fragile, they become vulnerable to further damage if left untreated. If your teeth break, rupture, or become infected, call a dentist immediately.
Here are the most common types of dental emergencies, and how to cope when they occur.
- Chipped teeth
Your teeth are harder than any bone in your body, but they aren’t unbreakable. If you suffer a tough blow to your teeth during a sports game, during a fall, or while biting down on a hard object, you might chip your tooth. Minor chips in your teeth can be painless, but major chips can become unbearable if they affect the sensitive tissue inside your tooth. Because there’s no way to fix a chipped tooth on your own, consult your dentist immediately. Even a small chip can lead to a bigger chip — or a crack — if left untreated.
An abscess is one of the most painful dental emergencies, and it can lead to serious medical complications. An abscess can create an infection in between a tooth and your gums, and it can damage your tooth or fill your neighboring gums with a pocket of pus. Because an abscess can potentially create a bacterial infection, don’t wait to consult a dentist if you are experiencing symptoms. To reduce infection and swelling before arriving at the dentist’s office, swish salty water around your mouth multiple times a day.
- Knocked-out teeth
Trauma to your teeth in bike or car accidents, falls, or sports games can dislodge your teeth. Knocked-out teeth can be quite bloody and painful, and they can quickly become infected if left untreated. If this happens, make sure to keep your mouth clean by rinsing with saltwater. As with any dental emergency, visit a dentist as soon as possible. Store your dislodged tooth (if you can find it) in a safe place and bring it to your dentist — there is a chance your tooth can be replaced.
How do I know if it’s an emergency?
You probably know that serious damage to your teeth should be treated by a dentist. But the term “dental emergency” might seem a little vague. So, what exactly constitutes a dental emergency?
In dentistry, an emergency is defined as any painful condition that requires immediate, professional care. In other words, a dental emergency is a case that will not heal on its own. Some dental injuries — like small mouth ulcers, a bitten lip, or a minor cut on the gum — will heal quickly with proper at-home remedies. As a result, these injuries likely won’t be considered dental emergencies. On the other hand, chipped teeth, broken teeth, and abscesses require immediate attention.
For dental emergencies in the Denver, CO area, request an appointment at Espire today. Our experienced dentists can take steps to eliminate painful damage, and to get your mouth healthy again. Your smile is too important to wait!