Even with the best oral hygiene habits, a dental emergency can happen to anybody. While some dental emergencies are inconvenient and uncomfortable, others can cause serious dental and overall health problems. Because of this, it’s important to seek professional dental assistance as soon as you notice signs of an oral health emergency.
At the Grove Dental Rouse Hill, our knowledgeable dental team is well-equipped to help restore the comfort and health of your smile if you experience a dental emergency. Here’s what you should know to properly handle a mouth injury or other emergency dental situation.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Many dental problems can cause unpleasant symptoms, including pain, but not every oral health concern is truly an emergency. A dental emergency is an urgent problem that cannot be resolved without professional care. This includes any abnormalities with your teeth, gums, or the soft tissues of your mouth that can’t be treated or managed on your own at home.
Examples of dental emergencies include:
- Knocked-out teeth
- Loose teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth accompanied by severe pain
- Uncontrollable bleeding because of trauma
- Swelling of your face or neck
- Broken orthodontic appliances, such as brackets or wires
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional dental care sooner rather than later. Dental emergencies will not get better on their own. On the contrary, they can progress quickly and lead to more complicated and serious problems. In the case of significant swelling, infection or bleeding, hospitilisation may be required. When you call The Grove Dental, we will obtain as much information about your dental emergency as possible so that we can guide you on the best steps to take to manage your pain and resolve your problem as quickly as possible.
What is Not a Dental Emergency?
It’s normal to want a dental issue solved as quickly as possible and our team at The Grove Dental are here to help with all dental issues. While this is true, not every oral health concern you experience is considered to be a true, potentially life-threatening, dental emergency. Being able to distinguish between an emergency dental situation and other dental concerns can help alleviate any anxiety you might have about your dental concern and ensure you obtain the appropriate level of care in a timely manner.
The best way to determine if your issue is an emergency is to ask yourself if it’s possible for you to wait to see a dentist without any ongoing pain or spread of infection. If you answer “yes,” then it’s likely not a life-threatening dental emergency. Some non-emergency dental concerns include:
- Minor crack or chipped tooth without pain
- Loose or missing filling
- Missing veneer
- Minor toothache or sensitivity
- Potential cavity
Non-emergency dental problems can likewise only be treated by your dentist, and we strongly recommend you schedule an appointment with the dentist if you experience one. Like dental emergencies, minor oral health issues can get worse over time and lead to more extensive (and costly) problems if left untreated.
What Can Cause a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies can happen at any time. The most common cause is poor oral health habits and not keeping regular oral hygiene appointments. However, even good oral hygiene won’t be enough to prevent dental emergencies that might be caused by an accident or dental trauma to your head or mouth (e.g. falling over).
How to Manage the Pain
Dental emergencies are often accompanied by pain or discomfort. After calling our clinic to determine the best steps to treat your problem, here are some tips to help manage the pain until you can be seen by the dentist:
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water
- Place a cold compress against the outside of your mouth against the injury to reduce swelling
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen
- Don’t eat hard or chewy foods that could make the pain worse
- For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove with sharp or pointed instruments
What Not to Do
You may feel inclined to try to resolve your dental concern on your own without consulting a dentist first. This is never a good idea and can often make the situation worse. Here are some steps that should be avoided during a dental emergency:
- Popping fluid-filled blisters or pimples on your gums caused by abscesses. Wait for the dentist to drain them safely.
- Holding a tooth that has been knocked-out by its root. Instead, pick it up by the crown and attempt to place it directly back in the socket. If it doesn’t stay, it’s important to keep it moist so wrap it in gauze, place it in a cup of milk, and get to the dentist’s office as quickly as possible.
- Placing crushed medications directly on a tooth, such as aspirin. This could harm your tooth’s enamel.
Tips to Avoid a Dental Emergency
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lower your chances of experiencing a sudden oral health concern. These include:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day
- Flossing and using an appropriate mouthwash
- Wearing a mouth guard when playing contact sports
- Wearing an occlusal splint (night time mouth guard) to minimise any damage caused by grinding and clenching
- Avoiding foods that are particularly hard or chewy
- Not biting down or chewing hard items, such as ice
- Use scissors or bottle openers, NOT your teeth, when opening or tearing things (e.g. envelopes, bottles)
- Visiting the dentist twice a year for active maintenance and preventative care, checkups & cleans
Do I Need to Make an Appointment?
Yes! If you experience a dental emergency, you should first call our friendly team. This allows us to:
- Guide you on how to manage your symptoms and pain
- Let you know how long you can expect to wait before the dentist sees you
- Prepare for your arrival and have the necessary equipment ready for you
The Grove Dental Rouse Hill Is Here to Help Your Dental Emergency
Making decisions during a dental emergency can be difficult. That’s why the trusted team at The Grove Dental Rouse Hill is here to help you through the process. The best way to resolve your emergency dental situation is to contact our office as soon as you experience symptoms. We can help guide you through the process of caring for your injured mouth and, most importantly, get the immediate dental care you need.
If you aren’t sure if your oral health concern is an emergency, don’t hesitate to call us. We can let you know if you should come in right away or schedule a regular dental appointment at a later date.