When you find yourself in the middle of a dental emergency, clear thinking is incredibly difficult. You’re stressed, nervous, and unsure about exactly what to do. Preparing for a dental emergency before it takes place will allow you to feel a bit more comfortable should disaster strike. By researching the appropriate steps to take, you put a plan in place and are ready to tackle dental problems head-on. Read on for a general guide to dental emergencies, and a discussion of whether your emergency merits immediate attention.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is any dental problem that is interfering with your daily life. While the level of emergency can vary, if the problem is causing you pain and hampering your activities, it’s not going to wait until your next regular exam. You need to take action ASAP. If the problem has been present for some time and the discomfort has become unbearable, it’s especially important that you contact your dentist and seek treatment.
At the same time, if your emergency is the product of recent trauma, it may command immediate attention. Dental emergencies typically fall into one of the following categories:
- It’s been bothering me for a while, and the pain has increased (a sore tooth or a sore jaw)
- I noticed something that seems weird, and I’m not sure what it means (a dark spot on a tooth, a loose tooth, a worn tooth)
- My dental work failed (broken crown or veneer, or lost filling)
- I just experienced dental trauma (blunt force to the mouth causing a break)
Each category merits attention, but some are much more pressing than others. We’ve broken down the types of dental emergencies to help you decide how to proceed:
- Dental trauma – If your tooth has been damaged and is chipped or broken, contact Cherry Creek Dentistry immediately. Save and bring any broken pieces of your tooth, and apply a cold compress to the area. Place gauze over the area to protect your tongue, gums, and cheeks.
- Jaw trauma – A blow to the jaw usually requires immediate medical attention. You should visit an emergency room to ensure that proper action is taken as quickly as possible. A broken or dislocated jaw merits professional aid.
- Lost permanent tooth – Fast action could save the lost tooth. Call your dentist immediately – this is one of the highest levels of emergency!
- Broken dental work – Fillings, crowns, bonding, and veneers can break, harming your smile and its function. Schedule an appointment to receive replacement work, and cover the site with gauze to protect it.
- Oral cuts or scrapes – Depending on the depth of the cut, you may not necessarily need treatment. Rinse the area with saltwater, and apply a tea bag or gauze. If the cut continues to bleed, then you should seek medical attention.
Experiencing a Dental Emergency in Denver?
Whether it’s during the workweek or after hours, we will ensure that you receive the attention you need. Contact Cherry Creek Dentistry to learn more about the specific steps you should take in the event of an emergency. If an emergency takes place, Dr. Hargreaves will be able to tell you whether immediate action is necessary and offer personalized tips for home treatment of the problem. It always helps to be prepared!
Relieve Oral Pain at Home
While waiting for your dental appointment, there are steps you can take at home. A saltwater rinse, cold compress, gauze, or tea bags will soothe and protect the injured area, as well as kill bacteria. You can also take over the counter painkillers to help with discomfort. If your oral pain is ever unbearable, don’t wait for your scheduled appointment – get in touch for immediate care.