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3 Dental Emergencies: What to Do and How to Treat Them


Nobody ever expects to experience a dental emergency. When it happens, it can create confusion and panic. Whether you suffer from a knocked-out tooth, broken crown, or severe pain in your jaw, specific steps need to be taken quickly to prevent further damage and treat the issue properly. The key is knowing what needs to be done to address the problem as soon as possible. This article will provide an overview of the three most common dental emergencies and how they should be addressed so that you can minimize any potential damage caused by leaving them untreated or delaying treatment too long.

Toothache or Severe Oral Pain

One of the most common dental emergencies is a toothache or severe oral pain. Various reasons such as decay, infection, or trauma to the tooth or teeth can cause this. The most important thing is to seek immediate dental care and try to identify the cause of your pain. Before visiting the dentist, you should rinse your mouth with warm salt water and apply a cold compress on the outside of your face near the affected area if possible.

When you visit the dentist, they may take some dental x-rays to help identify the source of your pain. Depending on the cause and severity of your toothache or oral pain, your dentist may suggest one or more treatments, such as a filling, root canal therapy, extraction, or even antibiotics if an infection is present. If the pain is due to a damaged or broken tooth, your dentist may recommend restoring the tooth with porcelain crowns or veneers.

If you have an abscessed tooth, your dentist may need to perform root canal therapy. During this procedure, they will remove any infected tissue and clean out the root canals of the affected tooth to eliminate the infection and relieve your pain. After the root canal is completed, your dentist may suggest a dental crown or veneer to protect and restore the look of the tooth.

Knocked Out Tooth

dentist holding implant model in his clinic

A knocked-out tooth is another typical emergency that requires immediate attention to preserve any remaining healthy tissue and save the tooth from permanent damage. If you have suffered a knocked-out tooth, you must recover all pieces of the broken tooth, including any bits that may have been swallowed or inhaled. Rinse off any debris or dirt from the tooth and place it back into its socket or in a container of cold milk to help keep it moist. Visit your dentist immediately, as they can determine whether the tooth can be re-implanted.

If a knocked-out tooth is not treated immediately, you can damage the root and surrounding bone and may need further repairs to save the tooth. If your dentist cannot re-implant it, they may suggest alternative treatments, such as dental implants. Sometimes, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction when the dentist cannot save a knocked-out tooth.

If you are experiencing dental trauma, try to remain as calm as possible and call your dentist immediately. Until you can reach the emergency facility, there are several ways to minimize further damage. If the area is bleeding, apply pressure with a sterile cloth or gauze to slow the bleeding. You can also rinse your mouth with a warm salt water solution to help reduce swelling and disinfect the area. You can apply cold compresses or ice packs to the cheek near the affected tooth to relieve pain or swelling.

Tooth Fracture

A fractured tooth is when a significant part of a tooth has broken off due to damage or trauma. Depending on the severity, this type of dental emergency needs immediate attention to save and protect the remaining healthy parts of the tooth. If possible, try to retrieve any pieces that may have broken off and take them with you to your dentist for evaluation.

Common causes of tooth fractures include trauma from car accidents, sports injuries, and biting down on hard objects. But tooth fractures can also occur due to weakened enamel caused by poor oral hygiene habits such as ignoring cavities or grinding your teeth. Treating a fractured tooth requires an evaluation from an emergency dentist to determine the extent of damage and the best course of treatment.

Depending on the amount of damage, there are various options for treating tooth fractures. If the fracture is minimal and only affects the outer surface of the tooth, your dentist may be able to repair it with a simple filling or bonding procedure. For more severe situations involving cracking or splitting the tooth, a dental crown may be necessary to restore the structure and strength of the tooth. In cases where a large portion of the tooth is broken off, dental implants or bridges may be required to replace missing parts of the tooth.

Cosmetic dentistry can also be used to help improve the appearance of your teeth after a fracture has been treated. Veneers are often utilized to enhance the look of teeth affected by fractures, providing a more even and uniform appearance. In addition, your dentist may recommend teeth whitening treatments to improve the color and brightness of discolored or stained areas due to dental trauma. Proper care and treatment make it possible to restore your tooth to its original condition.

In Summary

Dental emergencies can be very intimidating and scary, but you must remain calm and contact your dentist right away so that they can assess the situation quickly. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency is key, as delaying treatment could cause further damage or even lead to permanent loss or destruction of teeth. By understanding the most common types of emergencies and how to address them, you will be prepared should one ever arise.

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