Dental Emergencies

No one enjoys thinking about worst-case-scenarios, especially when it comes to your teeth. Unfortunately, the nature of emergencies is they can happen at any time, and they are often out of your control. When dental emergencies strike, knowing how to identify them and what to do can protect and even save you from losing a tooth altogether. At Beechnut Dental Care, we offer dental emergency services in Houston to keep your smile safe.

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What are Dental Emergencies?

Dental emergencies encompass several conditions that should not wait for a regular dental appointment and require immediate treatment, or within 24 hours. Emergencies can take many forms, but ultimately, if you are experiencing severe dental pain, are bleeding profusely, or have lost a tooth, you should reach out to a dentist right away as the pain almost always worsens without treatment.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

Many dental emergencies are fairly preventable. Dental injuries, for example, can be avoided by using protective mouthguards while playing sports or using your teeth as tools to open containers and packages. Dental infections, cavities, and severe periodontitis, on the other hand, can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene regularly.

What Are Common Dental Emergencies?

Avulsed Tooth (Knocked Out/Lost Tooth)

If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist immediately.  When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged.  If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

Here are some steps to take:

  • Call the dentist.
  • Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
  • If possible, place it back into its socket – if not, tuck it into the cheek pouch.
  • If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
  • Get to the dentist, quickly and safely.

The dentist will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy may be necessary.

Lost Filling or Crown

Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits.

If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that the dentist can reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.

When the dentist is not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:

  • Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.
  • Clean the crown and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at the local pharmacy.
  • If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
  • DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.

The dentist will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated, and a new crown will be made.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms but are generally caused by trauma, grinding and biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to see the dentist as quickly as possible.

Where a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:

  • Call the dentist.
  • Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
  • Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
  • Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
  • Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if there is no way to see the dentist immediately.
  • Take a topical pain reliever

The nature of the break or fracture will limit what the dentist is able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy may be the only effective way to retain the tooth. In the case of a complete break, the dentist will usually affix the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure.

Dislodged / Loose Teeth

When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth and attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.

It is important to call the dentist immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. The dentist will reposition the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy may be required.

Do You Have a Dental Emergency in Houston, Texas?

The best way to save your teeth from an emergency is through swift treatment by a skilled professional. At Beechnut Dental Care, we have skilled oral surgeons and dental professionals with decades of experience treating just about every dental issue you can imagine. Get in touch with us today to schedule an emergency appointment or call us to come in right away!

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