A dental emergency can be a shocking and painful experience, especially where injuries are concerned. Here, we will discuss everything you need to know to handle these situations in the most efficient way possible.
What’s a dental emergency?
Many people ask us this question – the answer is anything that involves a sudden injury or damage to your mouth. This includes your teeth, gums, palate, cheeks, or jaw.
You don’t always have to be bleeding profusely or missing a tooth to qualify for an emergency appointment. Emergencies can range from mild to severe.
Examples of common emergencies include:
- Oral abscesses (where pus builds up inside your tooth)
- Infected wisdom teeth
- Oral cysts
- Inflammation of the temporomandibular joint
- Inflamed dental pulp
- Spreading ulcers
- Bleeding gums
- Broken teeth
- Tooth loss
A quick response will give you the best chance of keeping your natural teeth and preventing further damage to your mouth.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, you might notice oral pain, swelling and, in some cases, bleeding. The mouth connects to the head and body, so it’s also normal to experience other symptoms like headaches and nausea.
What are the common causes of dental emergencies?
Dental emergencies regularly result from playing sports like rugby, hockey, basketball, football, or boxing.
Poor dental health is often to blame for bacterial infections, tooth loss, or swollen mouths.
What doesn’t qualify as an emergency?
Minor cracks or chips on your teeth will require treatment like composite bonding to prevent further damage and infection. However, they won’t usually qualify as an emergency.
Similarly, a toothache can often wait for a general dental appointment – as can a loose crown or a misplaced filling.
The only exception to all of these situations is if you are in a lot of pain, as this could indicate something more serious.
Treating dental emergencies
The treatment that we will offer depends on your specific issue. If your tooth breaks, we might suggest composite bonding to re-build it – unless the breakage is more severe.
More complicated breakages may require teeth to be extracted and replaced with artificial teeth like implants (a metal root with a prosthetic tooth attached).
Abscesses can be potentially life-threatening – we will need to drain any excess puss from the area before performing a root canal treatment to eliminate the infection. We may also need to remove the affected tooth if this treatment isn’t possible.
How can you prevent dental emergencies?
Practising good oral hygiene isn’t the only way to prevent oral health emergencies, but it helps! Bacteria build-up can lead to infections that will cause pain and risk the loss of your natural teeth. These outcomes are all preventable by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of interdental brushes.
For best results, combine home-based oral hygiene with routine visits to the dentist and hygienist. Dental examinations will help catch potentially severe issues before they worsen, and hygienists will use preventative treatments to keep plaque and tartar at bay.
Ensure you exercise caution and wear mouth-guards when playing sports, especially contact sports.
When should you visit A&E instead of a dentist?
Only visit A&E in the case of a genuine medical emergency, such as severe trauma to the mouth or surrounding area, extreme bleeding or worrying symptoms.
If you’re in doubt about whether a visit to the A&E department is the right thing to do or whether your symptoms are life-threatening, call 111 or visit this website to speak with an NHS advisor.
Is Ten Dental an emergency dentist?
Yes – our nine-strong team of expert dentists have years of experience treating everything from minor to the most severe dental traumas.
We are well-equipped to deal with any emergencies you may face in the most effective way possible – prioritising your comfort and putting you at ease.