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How to Handle a Dental Emergency

No one plans on having a dental emergency, but they do happen. So, it is smart to have a dental emergency plan in place so that you are prepared if a dental emergency happens to you or a loved one. 

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are typically considered to be any oral health issues, diseases, or injuries that require immediate attention and treatment. Generally, they fall into two categories:

  • Dental Emergencies - These include life-threatening issues where a person is at serious risk as a result of infection, uncontrolled bleeding, an airway blockage, or broken bones. 
  • Urgent Dental Care - These issues are not necessarily life-threatening but are causing a patient significant pain, putting them at risk of developing a bacterial infection, or putting them at risk of losing a permanent tooth. 

While the first category of dental issues is more severe and urgent, the second category also requires immediate attention. 

Oral Health Issues That Require Urgent Dental Care

Plus, What to Do If You Have a Dental Emergency

Uncontrolled Oral Bleeding

Any uncontrolled bleeding is considered an emergency. Do your best to slow the bleeding by applying a strip of clean gauze or cotton to the area. Applying a cold compress can help to slow bleeding, as well. Seek emergency dental care right away. 

Luxated Tooth

A dislodged tooth (one that has been shifted or knocked into the wrong place in your mouth) is a dental emergency. With immediate treatment, infection can be prevented and the tooth might be able to be saved. 

Avulsed Tooth

A knocked-out tooth is also a dental emergency. If you have a tooth knocked out, be careful not to handle it by the roots. Only touch the visible portion of the tooth (the crown). If you can, gently return it to its socket in the proper orientation. If the socket is swollen, do not force the tooth. Put it into a small plastic container filled with milk or hold it between your gums and cheek and seek emergency dental care. The tooth might be savable if you can get treatment within about 30 minutes of losing the tooth. 

Broken Tooth

All chipped or broken teeth can create sharp edges in your mouth, putting your soft tissues at risk. Seriously broken teeth are also at risk of infection. You can temporarily seal and dull the edges of a broken tooth with over-the-counter dental wax, but these injuries require immediate dental care. 

Maxillofacial Impact or Injury

Any injury to the face or jaw can put you at risk of broken bones. You may not have any visible signs of injury, but a fractured jawbone, for example, can become infected and cause serious problems. If you have an impact to your face, you should seek medical attention and have an x-ray taken to make sure all of your bones are intact. 

Loose or Lost Dental Crown or Filling

If you have a lost dental or loose dental restoration such as a crown or filling, this can put your tooth at risk of serious bacterial infection. You can use over-the-counter dental cement to seal your tooth temporarily, but you must seek urgent dental care. 

Severe Toothache

Severe toothaches can occur for a number of reasons that vary from benign sensitivity to serious issues such as severe tooth decay or infection. A toothache can be soothed at home with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, a cold compress, and over-the-counter oral numbing gel. However, they should be evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible to determine and address the underlying cause of pain. 

Dental Abscess or Infection

Oral infections must be taken seriously. They are life-threatening and can easily spread to the respiratory system and/or the brain. An oral infection should be treated right away with antibiotics in addition to the potential draining and sterilization of the infected area. Depending on the type and location of an oral infection, treatment with a root canal or extraction might be necessary. 

Treatment With Our Emergency Dentist in Cary, North Carolina

At Preston Dental Loft, we are here for you when you need us. Upon arriving at our office, our team will first take steps to help stabilize our patient by working to control any bleeding that might be occurring and addressing any pain or discomfort the patient is experiencing. We can then more thoroughly assess the patient with an examination and diagnostic images, such as dental X-rays. An examination and diagnostic images can help us determine the nature and extent of the problem which allows us to provide personalized, precise treatment to resolve the issue. 

Emergency dental treatments vary greatly, depending on the nature of the problem, illness, or injury. They can range from dental restoration repairs and the sealing of simple chipped teeth to emergency tooth extraction, root canal treatment, antibiotics, and more. 

While an emergency tooth extraction might be necessary in some cases, our dentist always strives to help patients preserve their natural teeth whenever it is possible to do so. Once our patient's condition has been stabilized and a diagnosis has been reached, our dentist will discuss all of the available treatment options and answer any questions the patient might have before administering treatment.

To learn more about how to handle a dental emergency or to request an urgent dental appointment at Preston Dental Loft, we welcome you to contact our office

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