Did you know that dental emergencies can cause you permanent tooth loss if you don’t seek dental help right away? Many dental emergencies have to do with breaking or cracking a tooth. Others include knocking out a tooth, cutting your gums, lips or tongue, intense toothaches and more. Any pain in your mouth is something you should take note of, because pain only happens to tell your body that something is wrong. Find out the most common dental emergencies and why you should see a dentist immediately if you want to keep your smile intact!
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency constitutes any type of emergency that puts your oral health at risk. This can be a broken tooth that happened when you were eating hard foods. It can be a knocked-out tooth that happened during sports. Dental emergencies can even be toothaches that cause severe pain. If something is going on with your mouth that is out of the ordinary or there is a visible injury, consider it a dental emergency. We say “emergency” because time is of the essence. There are many types of dental emergencies that can cause you to lose your tooth permanently if you don’t get dental help immediately.
Types of Dental Emergencies
- Knocked-Out Tooth: This is one of the most severe dental emergencies, however, a knocked-out tooth can actually be reinserted in some cases. If you knock out a tooth, call us immediately (even on weekends). Recover the tooth and keep it in a cup with water or milk. Never hold the tooth by the root end. Hold it by the crown, but limit contact with the tooth as much as possible. Reinsert the tooth in the socket if you can and hold it in place with gauze or cloth until you get to the dental office.
- Tooth Intrusion: Instead of being knocked out, a tooth is driven up into the gums and jawline. This happens on occasion, but mostly to children whose jawbones aren’t completely set. This is a serious injury that needs to be evaluated immediately.
- Cracked/Fractured Tooth: Cracked and fractured teeth are no joke. If you chip or fracture a tooth, this can lead to infection very quickly, which can lead to you losing your tooth. Infections can also make it to the bloodstream, so you want to see the dentist immediately to prevent more serious problems.
- Chipped/Fractured Filling: Tooth chips are not dental emergencies unless the chip was large enough that it went into internal layers of the tooth. Sometimes, patients can chip off a filling that will cause tooth sensitivity and pain if the inner part of the tooth was exposed. These must be fixed so infection doesn’t happen internally.
- Toothache: Patients don’t get toothaches for no reason. Usually, this is a sign of severe tooth decay. However, it can also be a chip, fracture, or broken tooth that you can’t see. When there is infection in a tooth, it will cause you pain.
- Broken Braces/Injury: Patients with braces can break a wire or a bracket. If those are not fixed, it can lead to cuts on the gums and cheeks, which can get infected. Injuries to the mouth with patients that wear braces may necessitate stitches if the gums were cut up.
- Continual Bleeding: If a baby or permanent tooth has fallen out and won’t stop bleeding even with continual pressure on it, call the dentist right away.
- Injuries: If you have been in a severe accident and have a broken jawbone, you will need to go to the emergency room. Once treated there, make sure to notify the dentist about your mouth and be examined for broken teeth and other mouth injuries.
- Sores: If you see sores popping up in your mouth (especially if they are painful), call us right away. Sores can be a sign of sickness, but they can also be as serious as oral cancer.
Taking Care of Your Teeth
Sometimes, injuries and accidents simply happen. If you play sports, you can have your teeth or mouth injured even if you are taking measures to protect your oral health. Even if your teeth are healthy and strong, a hard hit or biting down on something too hard can still break a tooth. However, you can give yourself a leg up on dental emergencies happening if you are taking care of your oral health.
Often, teeth crack, fracture, chip or break because a patient is not practicing good oral hygiene or a good diet. Patients who fill up on sodas (which have acids in them) and sugar will end up with weaker teeth that decay easily. If you swap your sodas and sugary drinks with water, you can strengthen your teeth, as many public water sources contain fluoride. This is a mineral that strengthens teeth and protects them. If you choose processed, sugary treats over healthy foods most of your day, then your teeth are exposed to sugar constantly, which decays them.
Brushing, flossing, eating healthy, seeing the dentist and other habits like these will help build your teeth stronger. Wearing mouth guards during sports will help prevent dental emergencies from happening. Your best assets are great oral hygiene and mouth protection. However, in the even dental emergencies still happen, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies at (970) 223-8425!