For many, the mere thought of a toothache is enough to cause anxiety. There’s nothing pleasant about most common dental emergencies. But being able to identify them and get the necessary dental treatment can mean the difference between a momentary inconvenience and major dental problems.
The pain from a cavity, a sudden inflammation in the gums or even an elbow in the mouth can bring on common dental emergencies. In most cases, here’s what you might be up against.
Cavities are the cause of what most of us call a toothache. A cavity is the result of tooth decay penetrating the hard layer of enamel on a tooth’s surface and reaching the soft, sensitive layer of pulp below. The pain may not be felt under normal conditions, but appears when the tooth is exposed to hot, cold or sweet foods or beverages. Also, the pain may not last longer than a few seconds. However, ignoring the initial discomfort may mean more pain in your future.
If the tooth pulp becomes severely inflamed, the pain will become constant and far more intense. In this case, a root canal may be required to save the tooth. Otherwise, the tooth may need to be removed.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, you should avoid using the tooth as much as possible. You may also take common anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage the pain. Still, it’s best to schedule a visit to the dentist as soon as possible.
Swelling in the gums is usually caused by one of two issues: plaque or abscess.
Periodontal swelling can be caused by plaque build-up along the gumline. If the patient does not have periodontitis, a cleaning may solve the problem. However, in patients with more advanced gum issues, a solution may not be so simple. The infection may require antibiotics and the patient may lose one or more teeth.
An abscess forms when the nerve of a tooth dies. With an abscess, the swelling in the gums is accompanied by moderate to severe pain and the presence of pus draining from the swollen area. Again, the suggested treatment for these common dental emergencies is either a root canal or tooth extraction.
Damaged or Lost Tooth
Trauma to the mouth—from a softly thrown baseball to a bit of hard pretzel—can lead to a damaged or even lost tooth. With a chipped or cracked tooth, immediate treatment depends on the amount of pain you’re experiencing. As with trouble from cavities, over-the-counter pain medicine can help you manage until you can see your dentist. But remember that damaged teeth are more susceptible to further problems.
Having a tooth knocked out is perhaps the most dramatic of common dental emergencies, and requires immediate dental emergency action. First off, find the tooth and rinse it off gently. Next, try to fit the tooth back in its socket. If this isn’t possible, put the tooth in your mouth or a glass of milk. If you can get to your dentist quickly, he or she may be able to save the tooth.
Get Help for Common Dental Emergencies
If you’re in the North Dallas, TX, area and need help with a dental emergency, contact Dentistry by Design. From a quick fix to complex surgery, Dentistry by Design provides top-quality care for common dental emergencies. For more information, call us at 972.231.3013.