Sometimes accidents happen, and whether or not they could have been avoided is a moot point once the event has occurred. Just as attending to a medical emergency is important, so is attending to a dental emergency. Just like seeking immediate medical treatment when you break your arm, having a heart attack or stroke or undergo some other type of medical emergency can make the difference between life or death or losing an appendage, so can seeking immediate dental treatment during a dental emergency make the difference between losing or keeping a tooth or succumbing to even more serious dental conditions that can affect your overall health.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is any dental situation that requires immediate dental treatment. Whereas many dentists require that you have an appointment to visit them, there are plenty of dentists out there who also offer emergency dental services when you need them. It’s always a good idea to know the phone numbers and locations of some of the dentists who offer emergency services in your area in the event that you ever undergo a dental emergency and need immediate assistance. Find an emergency dentist anytime.
Types of Dental Emergencies
There are numerous types of dental emergencies, but some of the most common ones include broken teeth, severely cracked teeth, teeth that have been knocked out, teeth that have been moved out of position and fractured teeth. Of course, not only dental emergencies have to pertain directly to the tooth. If you have periodontal disease and you develop an abscess in your gums, then you certainly have a dental emergency on your hands that requires immediate treatment. The long you let a dental abscess go untreated, the more toxic the abscess can become. In worst case scenarios, untreated dental abscess can result in death, and antibiotics are usually needed in order to help rid your gums of the infection. Other dental emergencies that might not necessarily affect one of your teeth include tears in the tissues within your mouth, such as puncture wounds and lacerations to the insides of your cheeks, mouth, tongue and lips.
How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency
Just as you have a first aid kit for medical emergencies, so should you have an emergency kit for dental emergencies. Some of the types of items that you should ensure are included in your dental emergency kit include phone numbers of emergency dentists, handkerchiefs, gauze, a small container with a lid and ibuprofen. Handkerchiefs and gauze can be used to help stem the flow of blood when your tongue or tissues are bleeding while a small container with a lid might be necessary if your tooth has been knocked out completely or ends up falling out while you’re in transit to the emergency dental office. Additionally, it’s always important to clean any bleeding wounds in or around the mouth with warm water and to ensure that you only take ibuprofen to deal with any pain. Don’t use aspirin since aspirin is an anticoagulant and can end up causing even more bleeding in a dental emergency. You might also want to have an ice pack or cold compress handy as well to help reduce any swelling that might occur from a fractured tooth or swollen gums and tissues.
How to Avoid a Dental Emergency
There are a variety of preventative measures you can take to help avoid a dental emergency from occurring. Although a dental emergency cannot always be avoided in cases where you are attacked by another person or an animal, you trip and fall or become involved in some other mishap, there are some instances in which dental emergencies might have been avoided had the individual been practicing good oral habits. For instance, never attempt to open packages or tear anything with your teeth; always use scissors, knives or other appropriate tools. Likewise, avoid chewing on hard objects like ice, popcorn kernels, hard candy and other extremely solid substances that can end up cracking or breaking off a tooth. Plus, when you’re playing sports or engaging in any other potentially dangerous recreational activity, wear a mouthguard to help protect your teeth in the event that there is an impact to your mouth area.
Academy of General Dentistry. “What is a dental emergency?” Retrieved on June 9, 2016, from http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=w&iid=185&aid=1239.
American Dental Association. “Dental emergencies.” Retrieved on June 9, 2016, from http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/dental-emergencies/.
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American Dental Association
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