Emergency Dentistry | Dentistry is a comprehensive field made up of a variety of subspecialties. Your general dentist offers a wide range of treatments and procedures, while other specialists deal in more narrow areas, like emergency dentistry. Although there are emergency dentists, most dentists are able to handle any type of dental emergency that you or your family is likely to experience.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common types of dental emergencies. This information will give you a head start if you or a family member should ever experience a situation like a knocked out tooth or bleeding gums.
Knocked Out Tooth
This is a classic type of dental emergency, requiring urgent dental care to save the tooth that has been knocked out. In the meantime, here is what to do until you can reach your regular dentist or an emergency dentist.
- Pick up the tooth only by its chewing surface, never its root.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with room temperature water without scrubbing.
- You can try putting the tooth back into its socket, making sure to orient it correctly.
- If you can’t replace the tooth, or are uncomfortable doing so, you can place it in a glass of milk or in your mouth against your gums and inner cheeks.
- Visit your emergency dentist or regular dentist as quickly as possible for the best chance of saving the tooth.
Are bleeding gums a true dental emergency? It depends upon what caused the gums to bleed. If it happened only once or twice after vigorously brushing or flossing, try being more gentle next time. If it happens virtually every time you brush or floss, you could be dealing with gingivitis, or early gum disease. Contact your dentist to have it checked out soon.
Bleeding gums following dental or mouth trauma are another thing entirely. You could have, for example, a fractured tooth, potentially leading to a severe infection. Even though things may turn out fine on their own, go ahead and contact your dentist as quickly as possible for their recommendations.
Missing or Damaged Restoration
If you have a missing or damaged restoration, such as a crown or filling, your tooth could become exposed to tooth decay if left unprotected. If you can recover the damaged or missing restoration, take it with you to your emergency dental appointment.
When you have a toothache, it tends to not improve on its own. Whether you are dealing with some type of trauma to the tooth, or an infection, immediately contact your dentist so that they can provide you with prompt pain relief and a treatment for the underlying problem.
The Bottom Line
If you are ever unsure if a given situation qualifies as a dental emergency, play it safe and contact your dentist as quickly as possible for their recommendations. Most dental emergencies have good outcomes when the patient can receive dental care as soon as possible.