If you have a dental emergency, the first person to contact should be your dentist. Most dentists are always ready to attend to dental emergencies. It is important to ensure that you have ready the contacts of an emergency dentist at all times. A dental emergency can be a stressful situation, especially if you make the wrong decisions about how to handle the emergency. Seeing a dentist within thirty minutes of a dental emergency can make the difference between saving and losing your tooth. It is, therefore, imperative to seek immediate dental care in case of an emergency. Northridge Dentist Center handles a wide range of dental emergencies; call us today if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Types of Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are common, and most people experience a dental emergency at some point in their lives. There are several underlying causes of dental emergencies. The main cause of dental emergencies is dental caries, a bacterial disease characterized by the destruction of tooth enamel leading to dental pain. A carious lesion may also impinge on the dental pulp followed by pulpitis leading to the occurrence of necrosis. Untreated necrosis may lead to the development of an abscess, a common dental emergency. Some of the specific forms of dental emergencies include:

Knocked-Out Teeth

There are many causes of knocked-out teeth. Injuries in an accident may lead to a knocked-out tooth. Your tooth may also fall out if you suffer injuries during a sporting activity. You should seek emergency dental treatment to help save your tooth. With emergency dental care, chances are high that your dentist may be able to reinsert the tooth and preserve it. What should you do after a tooth knockout? You will need to act very fast to help save the tooth. You should immediately pick out the fallen tooth. It is advisable to hold the tooth by the top of the crown and avoid touching the roots of the tooth. To ensure that the tooth is clean, you should rinse it gently. Ensure that while cleaning the tooth, you do not scrub it to remove the attached tissue. You should be careful, especially if you are cleaning the tooth in a sink. It is advisable to ensure that you place a towel or washcloth in the sink to prevent the tooth from going down the drain. 

If you can insert the tooth back to its socket, hold the tooth in place, and try to bite down.  In some instances, you may not be able to insert the tooth back to its socket. In this case, you should ensure that you put the tooth in a small container or a cup full of milk. It is more preferable to put the tooth in a cup full of milk.  Ensure that you contact an emergency dentist immediately. Following the outlined steps and seeking immediate dental treatment can help to save your knocked-out tooth.  If you wait much longer without re-implanting the tooth to its socket, you will be at a higher chance of losing the tooth. 

Emergency Tooth Extraction

Adult teeth are supposed to last for a lifetime. However, at times, things do not always work out as expected. You may require emergency tooth extraction if you have a tooth or teeth that are damaged by dental caries beyond repair.  You may need to have a tooth extracted if the tooth is causing you substantial pain.  In some instances, your dentist may repair a decayed tooth with fillings or crowns. However, in instances where tooth repair is not an option, emergency tooth extraction may be the only way out.  Several factors may prompt an emergency tooth extraction. The leading cause of emergency tooth extraction is tooth decay, often known as dental caries.

You may also need an emergency tooth extraction in case of persistent gum disease. You may also seek emergency tooth extraction in case you have impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted teeth refer to a dental situation where the teeth are unable to break the surface of your gums, and they are stuck. You may require emergency extraction if you have trauma on your jaw and if you have crowded teeth. If one of your teeth is increasing the chances of an oral infection, you may need to extract it. This is because the tooth is a danger itself, and it increases the risk of damage to the surrounding teeth. 

What are some of the signs that you may require emergency tooth extraction? Some of the signs that you should look out for include extreme sensitivity on the teeth. You should also lookout for a change of color in your tooth, especially the darkening or discoloration of your teeth. Look out for severe pain in your gums. At times, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth that will not go away even after you brush your teeth. This could mean that one of your teeth has an infection and requires emergency attention.  You may require an emergency tooth extraction if the tooth is swollen, and you find it difficult to open your mouth. If you find pus or other abnormal fluids in your mouth, it may be a sign of infection. If you have a persistent tooth pain and loose or wriggling teeth, it may be an indication that you require emergency tooth extraction. 

Fractured, Chipped, or Cracked Teeth

You may require emergency dental care if you have a fractured or a chipped tooth.  At times, a chipped tooth may not constitute a dental emergency, especially if the tooth does not hurt.  If the fractured tooth is not painful, you may wait for several days before visiting a dentist.  However, you should be careful while eating to avoid chipping the tooth further.  Upon seeking emergency dental care for a chipped tooth, your dentist may smooth the chip out. Your dentists may also add composite material to the tooth and restore it. 

Why is a cracked or a fractured tooth a dental emergency? Usually, a chipped or fractured tooth suggests that there is damage on the inside and the outside of the tooth. In some severe cases of fractured teeth, it is often difficult to save the tooth, and this often prompts removal of the teeth.  If you have a fractured tooth, the first step should be to contact your emergency dentist.  You should also follow several steps to help save the tooth. You should clean your mouth out by gently rinsing it thoroughly with warm water.

You should also apply a cold compress on the area, especially if the tooth fracture is resulting from facial trauma. Applying a cold compress will help to suppress the swelling.  To alleviate the pain on the fractured tooth, you should take specific pain medication. For instance, you may take acetaminophen, but you should avoid taking aspirin. Ensure that you take the acetaminophen according to the packaging directions for the best results. If you are in excruciating pain, you may be tempted to apply the pain medication directly to the gum. However, it is advisable to avoid doing this because the painkiller may burn the gum tissue.

Upon visiting the emergency dentist, the dentist may conduct several procedures to help diagnose the condition of your fractured tooth. For instance, the dentist may utilize modern imaging, including x-rays, to diagnose the condition.  You may require a root canal if the soft tissue inside your tooth or the tooth pulp is damaged. If the inside of the tooth is in order, you may not require a root canal. Instead, you may only require a dental crown to help hold the tooth together and prevent further chipping. Some dentists make permanent crowns of their own while some other dentists outsource dental crowns from external laboratories.  Before your dentist outsources the dental crowns from an external lab, you may have to wear temporary crowns as you wait.  At times, the dentist may not be able to save the fractured tooth. The dentist may extract the tooth and inform you of the various alternatives available. Some of the available alternatives after a tooth loss include dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges. 

Misaligned or Loose Teeth

You may seek emergency dental care in case you have loose teeth or in case of misaligned teeth.  You should consult your emergency dentist right away in case of a misaligned tooth. As you wait for the emergency dental care, you may attempt to push the loose tooth back to its original position. You may use your finger to push the tooth but ensure that you apply light pressure to prevent the tooth from falling.  If the tooth cannot move back to its original position, you should avoid pushing the tooth. Instead, you may attempt to bite down the tooth to prevent it from moving. To keep the loose or misaligned tooth in place, your dentist may splint the tooth to the adjacent teeth. 

Facial Pain and Tissue Injury

You may consider seeking emergency dental care if you are experiencing persistent facial pain and if you have a tissue injury. You may seek dental care for any type of injury inside your mouth, including lacerations, tears to the lips, mouth, and tongue, and in case you have puncture wounds. These types of injuries are tissue injuries, and they call for emergency dental attention.  If you happen to experience any form of tissue injury, it is advisable to clean the affected area with warm water. At times, you may notice bleeding coming from your tongue. In this case, it is advisable to pull your tongue forward and place pressure on the wound using gauze. You should then visit the nearby dentist and get oral surgery services immediately.

Tissue injury is often accompanied by facial pain. You can alleviate facial pain using over-the-counter medication. Ensure that you take the pain medication according to the packaging label. You should avoid certain forms of painkillers, especially if you are experiencing bleeding. It is advisable to avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen. These medications are anticoagulants, and they can cause excessive bleeding. 

Damaged Crown or Bridge

A faulty crown or dental bridge may also constitute a dental emergency. An injury on your face may cause a damaged dental bridge or crown. Several situations may make the teeth restorations to crack and, at times, fall off. For instance, you may damage your dental bridge when biting something hard. You may also bring down a dental bridge when you are chewing on sticky foods. Some of the foods that may cause damage to dental bridges and crowns to include caramels.  It is important to understand that damage to dental crowns and bridges may occur to anyone and at any time. To help save the crown or dental bridge, it is advisable to see a dentist immediately. You may seek advice on how to store the tooth restoration as you seek emergency dental care.

Cutting Teeth or Wisdom Teeth

Usually, wisdom teeth are the final teeth to erupt through your gums. Normally the eruption of wisdom teeth usually occurs later in life, mainly during adolescence or as a young adult. At times, you may experience a dental emergency associated with the eruption of the wisdom teeth. It is normal to experience discomfort. For instance, you may experience a toothache and feel like it is an urgent situation. However, dental pain may not count as a dental emergency. However, you should seek immediate dental care of you have an inflamed jaw, and if you are experiencing high fever. To avoid infection and to help you handle the pain, you should seek immediate medical attention.

A dental emergency may also arise if your toddler is cutting their teeth. It is common for toddlers to experience mild fever, pain, and swelling. However, if you suspect that your baby has an infection or has any other problem while teething, you should seek emergency dental care. Children are sensitive, and they are not always able to express how they feel. Therefore, it is important to seek advice from a medical professional if you suspect that your child is unwell.

Abscess and Swelling

You may develop a dental abscess at any moment, especially if there has been an injury on your face. A dental abscess is a true dental emergency that requires emergency dental care. Some of the symptoms of a dental abscess include toothache, swelling in the mouth, fever from the infection, and an inability to bite.  A dental abscess may become worse, and if you choose not to seek medical attention, you may risk losing the abscessed tooth. You may also risk losing the teeth around the tooth with an abscess. If not treated, an infection on an abscess may spread to the jawbone and the blood. You should not wait until a dental abscess ruptures because then, it may be too late. It is advisable to visit an emergency dentist immediately.

Persistent Toothache

Persistent toothache can be devastating. Usually, the pain strikes when you least expect it and may keep you from functioning properly. A dull ache in your gums or your teeth may not count as a dental emergency. However, when the pain is excruciating, and you cannot chew food, drink, or sleep, it is a dental emergency. At times, you cannot alleviate the toothache with non-prescription pain medication due to the continuous throbs. If you are experiencing this severe ache, it is the right time to visit an immediate dentist. An emergency dentist should be available on a 24/7 basis because a dental emergency can strike at any time. 

Usually, a toothache is a sign of an underlying dental condition. Therefore, the dentist will have to examine you. Upon identifying the root cause of the pain, the dentist can then commence the treatment. The pain may be an indication of underlying dental cavities. However, the pain may also be an indication of a more serious problem like periodontal disease. An oral dental examination is important to help alleviate dental pain. 

A Persistently Bleeding Cut

If you have a cut in your mouth that will not stop bleeding, you may require emergency dental services. You should place a clean piece of cloth on the cut and hold it down with light pressure for fifteen minutes. If the spot is still bleeding, it may be a sign that you should seek emergency treatment. The emergency dentist can stitch the cut to help stop the bleeding. To avoid aggravating the problem, you should keep constant pressure on the cut, and you should try not to move your lips or mouth.

Identifying a Dental Emergency

What are the distinguishing factors between dental emergencies and regular dental problems? If a dental problem is not causing you intense discomfort, it may not qualify as a dental emergency. Instead, you can handle the dental problem at the dentist's office during the regular working hours. If you are not sure whether your problem qualifies as a dental emergency, you may consider the various characteristics of dental emergencies.

You may have a dental emergency, you have bleeding in the mouth, and also if you are experiencing severe pain. If you have been hit on the face or the mouth, and if you have loose teeth, you should seek immediate dental services. You may have a dental emergency if you have swellings, knots, or bulges on your gums. Swelling on your mouth or the facial area may qualify as a dental emergency.  Upon visiting the emergency dentist, you should explain to the dentist exactly what happened and the discomfort you may be experiencing.

You may take some soothing actions to help soothe the pain as you await medical attention. For instance, if you experience extreme pain upon sipping hot and warm beverages or foods, you may try drinking ice water to help soothe discomfort. At times, you may have sensitivity to cold foods, and you may experience pain when you breathe in air. You should avoid breathing through the mouth, breathe through your nose instead, and contact your dentist immediately.  If you are experiencing pain in your tooth while chewing food, it may be an indication that you have a dental abscess. You should contact your emergency dentist immediately. 

Preventing a Dental Emergency

If you have routine check-ups with your dentist, you can avoid dental emergencies.  Your regular dentist ensures that your mouth and your teeth are strong, healthy, and free from decay. You can take protective measures to help prevent dental emergencies. For instance, you should ensure that you wear mouth guards when you are engaging in sports. Mouthguards will help to prevent chipping, knocking out, and breakage of your teeth.  You should also avoid chewing on hard foods that may fracture or break your teeth. You may be planning to go on a journey and spend some time away from home. Ensure that you go for a routine dental check-up before you travel. This way, you will avoid dental emergencies that are likely to occur while you are away.

Your dentist will ensure that you do not have loose teeth or dental crowns. The dentist will also check for decay close to the nerve of your tooth to prevent the development of a dental abscess.

Preparing for a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency may occur at any time, especially when you least expect it. It is good to be prepared by setting aside several items that may be valuable in case of a dental emergency. For instance, it is advisable to have a small dental first aid kit containing several items. The first aid kit may contain a small container with a lid. The kit may also have the contact and the name of your emergency dentist.  You may also carry some pain medication. Ensure that you avoid pain medication that acts as a blood thinner because this may lead to excessive bleeding during a dental emergency. The first aid kit may also contain a handkerchief and gauze.

Contact an Emergency Dentist Near Me

You can handle a dental emergency in many ways. However, the best way is to seek emergency dental care. You should avoid relying on home remedies for pain or inflammation.  Northridge Dentist Center handles a wide range of dental emergencies. Contact us at 818-875-0216 and speak to one of our experts.