Types of Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies take many different shapes and forms. Here are some of the most common types of dental emergencies and what you should do until you can be seen by the dentist. 


Dental Abscesses


Dental abscesses occur when bacteria invade the dental pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth that contains the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Bacteria usually enter through a chip, crack, or cavity in the tooth and spread into the root. Unsurprisingly, they can be extremely painful, and won’t resolve on their own so it’s crucial that you seek treatment. Common signs of a dental abscess include:

  • intense pain that can spread to your ear, jaw, and neck on the same side as the affected tooth.

  • redness and swelling of your face.

  • a tender, discolored, or loose tooth.

  • shiny, red, swollen gums.

  • sensitivity to hot or cold food or drink.

  • Your dentist will recommend the best course of action to treat your abscess. This may include draining the abscess, root canal treatment, or in severe cases extraction of the affected tooth. 


Chipped/Cracked Tooth


Although our teeth are usually extremely strong and durable, if they have previously had decay or infection, they may be weakened and therefore more susceptible to breaks. Biting down or chewing something hard, or using your teeth as tools, increases the risk of a chip or crack. These can be severe enough to damage the integrity of your tooth, as well as cause pain. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter pain medication and hold a cold compress against the side of your mouth to help alleviate swelling and discomfort. 



Avulsed  or “Knocked-out tooth”


One of the most common dental emergencies, particularly amongst children, is “knocked-out teeth”. This is normally the result of a blunt force trauma to the mouth, such as falling on your face or colliding with something. The tooth may remain whole or broken into parts after being “knocked out” or displaced. If the tooth is whole and you can find it, be careful not to handle the root as there is a small chance that it could be reinserted and restored. Instead, pick the tooth up by the enamel and place it in a clean jar of milk or water and bring it to your dentist right away. If the socket is bleeding – something which is very likely – you can use a clean gauze and bite on it. 



Severe Dental Pain


If you have experienced a toothache at least once in your lifetime, you may know just how debilitating it can be. Toothaches can be anything from a persistent dull throb to acute agony. It can make it impossible to talk, eat, sleep or even concentrate. If you are experiencing dental pain and over-the-counter medications aren’t providing enough relief, you should see your dentist. The cause of the pain will need to be identified/diagnosed, rather than masking the effects with pain. 


For more advice on dental emergencies, or to schedule an appointment with our office at Obeng Family Dental call 386-761-9440 or email us at Staff@obengfamilydental.com.


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