What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

A woman experiencing tooth pain

Dental problems are never fun to deal with, especially when they happen during a vacation or on the weekend. For dental issues that fall outside office hours, it is important that you be able to identify the difference between an emergency and a dental problem that can wait until regular hours. If you are not sure, then here are things to know about what constitutes a dental emergency.

Does Your Dental Problem Classify as a Dental Emergency?

For a case to be classified as an emergency, it has to affect your life negatively. This could be because of pain, but other symptoms such as excessive bleeding and swelling can also make it necessary to see a dentist right away. If your dental problem falls into one of these categories, then seek a dental professional in Stamford as soon as possible.

How to Know if it’s a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies are actually quite common, according to the American Family Physician, around 22% of people will have experienced a painful toothache in the last 6 months. However, not all dental issues are emergencies so before you go rushing to the emergency room, here are some things you need to ask yourself:

Is your pain severe?

Experiencing severe pain that makes it difficult to talk, eat or drink is often a sign that you have a dental emergency. If the pain keeps getting worse and there are visible signs of swelling around your face then go in immediately as this may indicate an infection.

Do you see blood?

Blood is another sign that your issue is a dental emergency. Your teeth may be damaged or there may be some nerve damage.

Are there any loose teeth?

Loose teeth are usually a sign of a big problem even if you’re not experiencing any pain. This needs to be checked out as soon as possible.

Check for infection

Swelling and abscess are very serious signs that you have an infection. It is important to go straight in and get it treated immediately as this can spread very quickly, and is quite possibly life-threatening.

As a rule of the thumb, if you are bleeding, or in extreme pain, or have a loose tooth don’t wait to see if it gets better. Go straight in and get treated for an emergency situation.

What’s NOT Considered a Dental Emergency?

There are times when a dental issue isn’t a real emergency, for example, a mild ache in your tooth. If the pain isn’t too severe and it’s not constant, it can wait till regular hours.

Some cases when it seems critical, like a broken tooth, can actually wait a few hours. If you have prolonged or intermittent pain it’s best to go in and get treatment before the issue worsens.

A chipped tooth, unless you are in extreme pain, is not a dental emergency. This dental issue can usually wait until regular hours to be treated.

Common Dental Emergencies

Any of these emergencies are serious and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

Bleeding or Swollen Gums

Bleeding and swollen gums are clear indicators of a dental emergency. If you have bleeding gums it can easily escalate into an infection and cause major problems if not treated immediately. This is usually accompanied by extreme pain.

Broken Teeth

A broken tooth can sometimes be saved but it needs to be treated immediately. The treatment may vary depending on the severity of your injury. If you are able to keep the part with the nerves intact then a crown or veneer could save your tooth, if not then extraction is required. Crowns and root canals are also possible treatment options.

Fractured jawline or other injuries to the mouth

Any kind of injury involving your teeth, gums, or jaws can be considered a dental emergency. If you have been punched in the face and have sustained an open fracture then it is definitely a dental emergency that needs immediate attention from professionals at our clinic!

A sudden ache in your teeth

If you all of a sudden experience sudden but unexplained pain in your tooth, then it is probably best to call our clinic. If you did not recently injure yourself or eat something that could cause damage then the sudden pain may be an indication of an underlying problem that needs to be treated by a dentist.

An exposed nerve in tooth

If you notice that your tooth is very sensitive or this pain feels different than the normal type of sensitivity, then it’s possible that there may be an exposed nerve in your mouth. An emergency dentist will need to take a look and determine if some sort of action needs to happen quickly for treatment purposes.

Swelling on face

If there is any swelling on your face, then this should be treated as a dental emergency. There are some infections that may spread from the tooth to surrounding areas quickly and you need to get professional help immediately to prevent complications.

Dental abscess

An abscess is a serious infection that can spread through your body quickly and become life-threatening. If you notice an abnormally large swelling on one of your gums, this could be the cause and it requires attention from a dentist immediately to avoid further complications like more severe infections or even death in some cases.

Object Lodged in Between Teeth

If you have a small object lodged in between teeth, it can be very painful and make eating difficult. This is an emergency because the longer something stays stuck there, the more likely it will cause permanent damage to your gums or cheek lining. Getting this taken care of as soon as possible might just save you from having to undergo surgery.

Broken dental crown

Broken crowns are very common in older adults, but can also happen to younger people. This is why it’s important to wear a mouthguard when playing sports or doing activities that could result in an impact on your teeth. If you have broken one of these crowns, you should visit the dentist as soon as possible because they need time to make an accurate cast to make a new one.

Missing tooth filling

A missing tooth filling is an emergency because the broken edges of your tooth could be left open to decay and infection. Eating can also become painful when you have a missing filling, which is why you should also visit the dentist as soon as possible if this happens to you.

Handling Dental Issues

Any of the above cases are considered dental emergencies because they need to be taken care of as quickly as possible. If you have any of these issues with your teeth, don’t hesitate and visit the dentist right away so that you can get them taken care of as soon as possible! You would usually be given antibiotics to prevent any infection, which you will have to take for around a week after the dentist has taken care of your teeth.

When it comes to dental issues that are not emergencies, but still require treatment from the dentist, these cases need to be scheduled for a visit. The dentist will need to examine your teeth and see what is causing the problem, which might include a cavity or plaque buildup that needs to be taken care of. After this has been done, you will receive treatment according to how severe your case is.

Avoiding Dental Emergencies

Staying proactive with your dental health can help you avoid dental emergencies in the future. Regular check-ups and cleanings are a great way to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy. You should also limit sugary foods as these can lead to tooth decay over time.

Always pay attention to your mouth and if you see any bleeding, swelling or if you feel a sudden pain, visit a dentist as soon as possible.

In Summary

Dental issues are common but not all are emergencies, knowing which ones are and which ones aren’t can help you assess if you really need a dental professional’s help. If there is a dental emergency, it’s important to get the right treatment as soon as possible so that your problem doesn’t worsen. Keep up-to-date with your dentist appointments and make an effort to eat healthier foods to avoid dental emergencies in the future. If you need further information and are in Stamford, CT then visit Dr. Ghorbani, your trusted Stamford Dentist today!

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