What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Dental Emergency

There are many things that can happen to create a dental emergency. Even if you don’t know what has happened but feel sudden and severe pain in your tooth or gum, it’s important to contact an emergency dentist so they can assess the problem and decide on the best method of treatment.  If they don’t have time to treat it fully, they may be able to offer a quick temporary solution that will get you out of pain until a longer dental appointment can be had.

There are several problems that can constitute a dental emergency.

  • A bad toothache. The dentist will ask you what you did just before the tooth started aching. This will give him the information he needs to find out the source of the problem, even if you can’t think of anything you did. He will also want to find out if you have pain anywhere else, such as in the neck, head or ears, if there is any swelling and whether the pain is constant or intermittent.

  • A trauma or a sports injury. If the tooth has been knocked right out, be sure to bring it and any fragments to the dentist with you. Sometimes it can be put back in.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth or lost fillings. It’s important to have this problem seen to as soon as possible. The rough edges can cut or damage your cheek or tongue, otherwise. Plus, eating on the damaged tooth can cause a lot of pain. The teeth can be repaired with white fillings so they look natural.
  • Dental abscess or infection. This can be caused by a decay that has not been treated, or by gum disease, so the abscess can be in the tooth or in the gum. In each case it is essential to have treatment to remove the cause of the infection and to treat it with antibiotics. This is done by removing trapped food or decay.

Dentists will usually try to save a tooth if it is possible, since your own teeth are always far better than having false teeth.  Root canal treatment can be used to save some teeth. This is where the nerve of the tooth must be removed and the cavity irrigated with a saline solution to remove infection. This may have to be done several times over the course of a few weeks. In between treatments, the dentist fills the hole with a temporary filling to prevent food getting in there.

When the canal is completely free of infection, a permanent filling is pushed into the gap and sealed off so no food and accompanying infection can get in. The good part is that once the nerve is gone, further treatment can be done without any need for a needle to numb it.