It’s almost impossible to avoid accidents. However, knowing the cause of action before a similar situation occurs can make a huge difference. In dentistry, knowing what to do when you require emergency service can save your teeth. Patients seek emergency dental services throughout because these cases stem from unexpected reasons and can occur at any time. If you experience a dental emergency, you will need to relieve the pain and take action to save the tooth.
At Washington Dental, we understand the pain and agony that stems from a tooth emergency, which is why we take all matters dealing with emergency dental seriously. Our emergency dentistry services in Lomita, CA, focus on knocked-out teeth, sudden toothaches, fractured teeth, abscessed teeth, dislodged teeth, oral infection, tissue damage, and emergency extraction. We have further discussed these services below to help make sense of your situation and manage it effectively in a dental emergency.
Reasons for Seeking Emergency Dentistry
It’s easy to assume that your teeth are less critical, but they are as critical as any other part of your body in a real sense. The same way you will not hesitate to rush to the hospital when you have a broken arm is the same way you should find emergency dentistry if you have a fractured tooth. Some dental emergencies require immediate attention; otherwise, you might end up developing other complications or losing your tooth.
One of the common reasons you might find yourself needing dental emergency services is sports. Whether you are a professional sportsperson or just playing in your backyard, you will need emergency dental care if your teeth are knocked out or fractured.
Car crashes are another reason why you might seek emergency dental care. The enamel is designed to offer protection to your teeth, but if you collide with the steering wheel in an accident, they can’t provide enough protection to prevent tooth damage.
What are the Issues that Emergency Dentistry Address?
Not all oral problems require emergency dental care. You can schedule an appointment with your dentist without risking losing your teeth or further complications. However, the following incidences will require emergency dentistry.
Fractured or Chipped Tooth
A fractured or severely chipped tooth is considered a dental emergency considering the aching that results from it. However, if the broken tooth doesn’t result in any pain, it is not a dental emergency because you can wait for a few days to schedule an appointment with a dentist. During this time, you should be careful how you chew to avoid causing further cracks or fractures.
If your tooth is severely fractured, the pain and the risk of the exposed nerves allowing food to build up resulting in bacteria infection is what constitutes an emergency. With damaged tooth nerves, the pain is severe and can affect your routines.
Some of the causes of fractured or chipped teeth include chewing hard foods or trauma from an accident. Whatever the cause of your broken tooth, you should reach out to your emergency dentist right away and schedule an emergency appointment. However, before you go for the appointment, you should take the following steps:
- Wash your mouth gently and rinse it with warm water
- If the crack or fracture has been caused by facial trauma from an accident, you can reduce the pain and swelling by placing a cold compress or ice bag on the area of injury.
- Avoid aspirin and instead, take acetaminophen to alleviate the discomfort or pain
- Avoid applying painkillers like Orajel on the injured surface because they burn the gum tissue
- Do not forget to take with you to the dentist the broken pieces of the tooth
On arrival at the dentist, the type of fracture or crack will advise on the treatment form. The dentist will perform an x-ray on the fractured tooth or the injured area to diagnose the tooth’s condition and find appropriate treatment options. If the tooth is chipped, your dentist will recommend veneer or dental bonding. When the tooth is broken into two pieces, your dentist will recommend dental crowns to address the problem. For moderate cracks that have extended deep into the roots, the best treatment will be a root canal with a crown on the top.
In some situations, the tooth will require extraction if the cracks are severe and have gone deep into the tooth roots in the jaw. Upon extraction, you should replace the tooth with an implant or bridge. Remember, an extraction is the last resort, and you must discuss with the dentist the most appropriate dental implant to replace the extracted tooth.
The common cause of fractured or cracked teeth is grinding, and it commonly affects the back of the mouth because this is where much of the chewing occurs.
After repairing the damaged teeth, the dentist will recommend you stick to soft foods and wear a nightguard whenever you’re going to sleep to prevent grinding, which puts pressure on the tooth, thus causing pain and further damage.
Tooth cracks, chips, or fractures resulting from accidents can be extremely painful, which is why you should opt for our dental emergency services in Lomira, CA, any time of the day.
Objects Lodged Between Teeth
Dental emergencies do not always deal with teeth. Sometimes, the oral problem might be stemming from objects lodged in your gums and between the teeth, resulting in oral infection. Some of the most common objects that can be lodged between your teeth include popcorn husks, wood splinters from toothpicks, or fingernail pieces. When any of these objects are lodged in your gums or teeth, they can cause serious problems.
If this happens to you, try dislodging the object through flossing. If the dental floss doesn’t work, you should consider calling an emergency dentist. Objects lodged between teeth are an emergency because if the object is left to stay there for long, it might shift the position of teeth in the mouth. Further, there might be contact between the particles in the object and the gum, causing an oral infection.
An oral infection is a dental emergency because the swelling around the jaw or under the teeth can affect your breathing and swallowing. Besides, an oral infection could be an indication of Ludwig’s Angina. The infection constitutes a dental emergency because it spreads from your oral cavity to heart tissues if it is not treated on time.
Some oral infections are also associated with severe pain, which interferes with your eating and sleeping habits, hence emergency care. Remember, an abscess in the gums will not go away on its own. The dentist must extract the abscess and debris in the periodontal pockets. Alternatively, the dentist could use scaling and planning to remove plaque and tartar from the infected areas.
An abscess sometimes might eat away the jawbone reducing its density. In these cases, your dentist will need to take an x-ray of the affected areas to check if there is any loss of bone density. If there is, the dental professionals might recommend tooth extraction or a jawbone regeneration procedure.
The most common cause of a dislodged tooth is trauma, and it often pushes the took into or out of its socket. A dislodged tooth is usually caused by a fall or accident, and when it happens, you need to contact your dentist for emergency dental care.
When you arrive at the dental clinic, the dentist will first anesthetize, wash the area around the tooth and perform an x-ray to find out if the damage has extended to the root nerves and blood vessels. If no extensive damage has occurred, the dentist will reposition the tooth and perform some repairs for stabilization purposes.
Suppose the damage has extended to the tooth root, nerves, and blood vessels. In that case, the emergency dentist will conduct a root canal to prevent tooth discoloration, growth of the oral infection, or an abscess. Follow-up x-rays and treatment are also necessary because the initial x-ray might not be adequate to demonstrate the extent of the damage.
An abscessed tooth is an oral condition where bacteria infect the nerves. The common cause of this condition is tooth decay, and it’s associated with severe pain hence the need for emergency care services to relieve the pain. Remember, failure to address a dental abscess could mean the infection spreads from the oral cavity to other parts of the body like the head and neck, causing serious health complications. If not treated on time, it can cause serious brain abscess, which is life-threatening.
Emergency dental care aims to treat the infection, which involves cutting open to drain the pus. Note that if you have a huge swelling, the dentist will be forced to insert a rubber drain in the abscess to drain the pus continuously until the swelling goes away. After all the pus has been drained, the dentist will clean the area using saline or saltwater.
If the tooth is savable, a root canal will be necessary to remove all the abscess, pulp, or any dead tissue through drilling. The area will then be cleaned, filled, sealed, and a crown placed on the top to strengthen the tooth.
On the other hand, if the abscess damages the tooth to the extent that saving it is not an option, the dentist will have no other choice but to extract it. Pulling out the tooth enables the draining of pus from the abscess, thus clearing the infection.
It’s worth noting that you should take antibiotics if the abscess had spread to other teeth in the mouth, the jawbone, and other parts of the mouth, to stop the infection from spreading. However, if the tooth extracted was the only one with the abscess, the dentist won’t prescribe antibiotics. They will remove the infected area.
If your tooth is knocked out in a fight or an accident, you should contact an emergency dentist right away. Taking the right steps after this incident can save your tooth because it can be reinserted and preserved. Some of the steps you should take to save the tooth include:
- Collecting the tooth by the top without touching the root
- Gently rinse the tooth and avoid scrubbing or removing any tissue from it
- When possible, place back the tooth to its socket while trying to bite it down
- If reinserting the tooth into its socket is not an option, place the tooth in a cup of milk
- Contact your emergency dentist and visit their office right away. Doing this, in addition to following all the above steps, will save the tooth.
Remember, the longer you wait without returning the knocked-out tooth to its socket, the slimmer the possibility of the tooth staying viable for reinserting.
Tissue Injury and Facial Pain
Any damage that occurs inside of your mouth is deemed an emergency dentistry matter. Your mouth is made up of soft tissues like the cheek lining, tongue, and gums, which can easily sustain injuries in the event of a trauma. An injury like puncture wounds, lacerations, or tear to the soft tissues is some of the injuries you can sustain in the mouth. These injuries can cause severe bleeding before you reach the dentist’s office. We recommend that you take the following steps when you realize you have been injured inside the mouth:
- Wash the area immediately using warm water
- If the bleeding is coming from below the tongue, gently drag the tongue forward and place slight pressure on the wound using your gauze.
- Contact an oral surgeon right away and if you can’t reach them, visit the nearest emergency room in Lomita. CA.
If you want to alleviate the facial pain from the soft tissue trauma, take acetaminophen as per the instructions on the label. Remember, aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended for alleviating oral pain because of their anticoagulant nature, which makes them cause excessive bleeding.
You can find yourself needing emergency dental care if you experience a severe and sudden toothache. Most of these toothaches are caused by oral cavities that have gone unattended for a long time, becoming large. If the damage has extended to the root canal, the pain it causes is unbearable, and it not only makes you physically ill, but it hinders your eating habits. The right emergency dentist can treat this oral condition and restore its natural functioning.
Remember, cavities can lead to abscessed teeth, with the infection spreading to other teeth in the mouth, making sudden toothache an emergency case that requires emergency dental care.
Lost Filling or Crown
Some people will not think so, but losing a filling or crown constitutes a dental emergency. Fillings or crowns cover your gums and teeth to protect them from pressure and air. When any of these is lost, your tooth is left exposed, making them hypersensitive and highly painful.
Losing a crown means your tooth begins to shift right away, and this might interfere with tooth arraignment in your mouth. Further, a crown acts as a cap of the restored teeth. The purpose of the crown is to prevent damage from the underneath tooth, meaning that if you lose it, the restored teeth will be at risk of damage because it’s not as strong. If a crown is not replaced earliest possible, you might end up losing the entire tooth or become ineligible for dental crowns.
When you visit the dentist for emergency care, the first step will be establishing the cause of the fall off. A crown can fall off due to decay that enlarges the natural tooth. If this is your situation, the dentist will begin by reshaping the tooth to remove decay and build up. The dentist will then take a dimension of the tooth to create a replica for the crown. The process requires two visits to the dentist, meaning you will need to wear temporary crowns after your first visit as you wait for the permanent crowns to be developed.
Do You Need Emergency Dentistry?
Whenever you experience an oral issue that requires immediate treatment to prevent tooth loss, stop excessive bleeding, or alleviate tremendous pain, that is the time to seek emergency dentistry services. If left untreated for a long time, an abscessed tooth could also spread to the brain, causing a brain abscess, a life-threatening condition. An abscessed tooth, therefore, falls in the category of a dental emergency.
Any oral condition that doesn’t cause severe pain risks the tooth being lost or life-threatening doesn’t qualify as a dental emergency. If you are wondering whether your oral condition requires emergency dentistry, answer these questions:
- Is your mouth bleeding excessively?
- Are you experiencing tremendous pain?
- Do you have loose teeth?
- Have you experienced facial or mouth trauma?
- Do you have bulges or swellings on the gums?
If your answer to any of these questions is a yes, it might indicate you need emergency dentistry and should contact your dentist right away.
Ice water can relieve the pain when experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain when taking hot or warm foods or beverages. All you need to do is take a sip of the water and hold it in your mouth until you arrive at the dental office. If the sensitivity or pain is triggered by cold foods, beverages, or when you breathe cold air, keep off cold consumables and breathe through the nose instead of the mouth until you arrive at an emergency dentistry office.
Also, if biting down your teeth causes severe pain, it indicates a dental abscess, which is a dental emergency, meaning you should call your dentist right away. When you make this call, ensure you explain to the dentist what happened and how you are feeling. If the pain is tremendous or you are bleeding, share this information.
Preventing a Dental Emergency
Like once after every six months, regular dental checkups can help identify oral issues on time and be treated, thus keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
Apart from regular oral checkups, you should also protect your teeth from trauma resulting from accidents during sports. The best approach for this is wearing a mouthguard whenever you're going to play to prevent chipping, cracking, or breaking the teeth.
Furthermore, whenever you are traveling or going for a vacation outside the country where you might not have access to dental care, you should have a routine examination before leaving. A thorough dental examination will ensure your teeth are healthy, and in case of any condition like an abscess or loose crowns, they will address the issues before you leave. Doing so prevents dental emergencies when traveling unless the emergency stems from an accident.
Preparing for a Dental Emergency
Dental emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time, and the best action to take during a time like this is to be ready and stay calm. Always keep a fully packed first aid kit in your car or at home to perform preliminary first aid before arriving at the emergency dentist’s office. The items that should be contained in the first aid kit are:
- Medical gauze
- Clean rags
- Acetaminophen for pain alleviation
- A small container with a lid or cover
- Name and contact address of the emergency dental care near you
Staying calm, having the right materials for first aid, and knowing who to call during an oral emergency could save your teeth. Besides, knowing how to deal with various dental emergencies could prevent further damage to your teeth in the event of an emergency. Still, to acquire this information, you need to speak to an experienced emergency dentist.
Find the Best Emergency Dentistry Services Near Me
Dental emergencies can occur at any place, any hour of the day, and demand immediate attention. This makes it difficult to schedule appointments, weeks, or days in advance. Luckily, at Washington Dental (Lomita), we understand this, which is why we provide emergency dental care around the clock and prioritize treating dental emergencies. If you have a dental emergency in Lomita, CA, we can help save your teeth. Call us at 310-326-5183 to arrange a meeting and address all questions you might have regarding our services.