Common Types of Dental Emergencies

Dental issues can often happen without any warning. They may vary greatly in how severe they are and how urgently they need to be treated. Knowing whether it is something that can wait until your next routine appointment, or if it is something that needs immediate attention isn’t always that simple. Not seeking emergency treatment when needed can create a risk of long-term damage, persistent discomfort, and/or potential tooth loss. Also, emergency out-of-hours care can often be very expensive, and a waste of money if not needed.


So, what constitutes a dental emergency? Broadly, anything that could cause significant pain and discomfort, lead to tooth loss, or something that causes persistent bleeding.


Types of Common Dental Emergencies


While this is not an exhaustive list, it identifies the most common dental emergencies that somebody may experience.


Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a very common problem, which can appear suddenly and cause significant pain. What people don’t often realize, is that it is a potentially severe situation because of the potential for infection to spread throughout the body. The symptoms to look out for are above and beyond those of a normal toothache and include temperature/fever, sensitivity to hot and cold on the teeth, swelling of the gums, neck and lymph gland pain/tenderness, a horrible taste in the mouth, and persistent tooth pain. It is critically important to seek emergency dental treatment as soon as possible to treat the abscessed tooth, relieve symptoms, and prevent further problems.


Cracked or Chipped Tooth

While minor damage to a tooth is very common, usually a result of trauma or chewing something hard which causes an existing weakness to “give out”, any chips/cracks should see the patient seeking emergency treatment to prevent further damage, infection, or potential tooth loss. Until treatment has been completed, simple pain relief medications and the use of a cold compress can help relieve the discomfort.


Persistent Bleeding

Just like other parts of our body, our mouth is full of tiny blood vessels, and sometimes whether there is a dental trauma or damage to the gums, oral bleeding is something that can occur. If this remains persistent and does not stop on its own, it is important to see a dentist who can establish the underlying cause of the problem and stop the bleeding.


Extreme Tooth Pain

Anyone who has suffered from a prolonged, extreme toothache that is not relieved by simple pain medications or cold compress will confirm just how debilitating and excruciating the problem can be. When an extreme toothache occurs, seek emergency dental treatment as soon as possible. Your dentist can prescribe stronger, effective pain relief, and they will be able to identify the root cause of the pain, treat the problem, and see an end to the suffering extreme toothache causes.


Knocked-Out Tooth

One of the most common dental emergencies seen by dentists, children, and people playing contact sports are particularly prone to suffer from a knocked-out tooth. Surprisingly, even a small amount of trauma to the face/mouth can cause a tooth to be knocked out. If the tooth has come out whole with the root still attached, if possible, position the tooth back in the socket as it may be able to be saved. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or water and seek prompt emergency dental treatment. If the tooth is broken or partially broken, seek emergency treatment right away to minimize the risk of infection and get pain relief. 


For more on dental emergencies or to schedule an appointment, call Robert L. Larison, D.D.S. in Springfield, Illinois at (217) 203-8422 today.

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