What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
Knowing what is considered a dental emergency isn’t always clear-cut. Some issues may be more urgent than others, but understanding the signs and knowing when to seek immediate dental care is crucial for maintaining a healthy smile. So, let’s delve into the different types of dental emergencies and how to handle such situations.
Dental Emergencies: When to Seek Urgent Care
These conditions are considered dental emergencies. If you encounter any of the following, please seek immediate assistance by calling our practice during office hours or visiting an accident and emergency department (A&E):
1) Severe Tooth Pain: Persistent and intense toothaches often indicate underlying problems such as infections or dental abscesses. If you’re experiencing a persistent toothache that doesn’t settle with over-the-counter pain medication, please seek immediate attention to help alleviate the pain and prevent the issue from worsening.
2) Knocked-Out Tooth: Whether due to an accident or injury, a knocked-out tooth demands urgent care. If your tooth gets knocked out, handle it carefully by the crown, rinse it with water (without scrubbing), and try placing it back in its socket if possible. If not, store it in milk or saliva and call our practice immediately.
3) Cracked or Fractured Teeth: A cracked tooth can expose nerves, which is excruciatingly painful. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you should reach out for help to prevent infection or further damage. We recommend contacting our practice after fracturing your tooth for further guidance. In the meantime, try to keep the tooth as clean as possible, and if you experience any discomfort, anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can offer relief.
Try not to panic if you’ve cracked or fractured your tooth. There are measures that we can take to help restore your tooth’s function and appearance, such as bonding, veneers, dental crowns, or implants.
4) Excessive Bleeding or Trauma: Any injury to the mouth resulting in excessive bleeding or trauma to teeth, gums or soft tissues needs immediate attention to prevent infection and control the bleeding.
5) Loose or Dislodged Teeth: Teeth that are loose or have been partially dislodged due to an injury should be looked at straight away to prevent further damage or loss.
Situations Requiring Prompt Attention
It’s important to make an appointment with our team at your earliest convenience if you experience any of the following non-emergency situations. This will reduce the risk of future problems and alleviate your pain:
1) Lost Dental Restorations: Losing a filling or crown might not cause immediate pain or require emergency treatment, but it does need prompt attention to prevent further damage to the affected tooth. Call our practice during opening hours to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.
2) Abscesses or Infections: Swelling, pus, and intense pain around the gums or teeth signal an infection that can spread rapidly if not treated with a root canal. Immediate treatment is crucial to prevent its escalation.
3) Severe Gum Injuries: Trauma to the gums, including deep cuts or lacerations, should be addressed promptly to prevent infection and ensure proper healing.
4) Orthodontic Emergencies: Broken wires or brackets in braces can cause discomfort and/or injury to the mouth. It’s important to see our orthodontist as soon as possible to correct this issue.
What Doesn’t Constitute an Emergency
1) Mild Tooth Sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot or cold foods doesn’t indicate an emergency but should be addressed during regular dental visits.
2) Small Chips or Fractures
3) Dull Toothaches: While discomfort is always a concern, mild pain doesn’t warrant immediate attention but should be monitored.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
Remember, preventing dental emergencies is key. Maintain good oral hygiene, attend regular dental check-ups, wear mouthguards during sports, and avoid chewing hard objects to minimise the risk of dental injuries.
To learn more about protecting yourself from dental emergencies, read our previous blog post, ‘Proactive Steps to Steer Clear of Dental Emergencies‘.
What to Do During a Dental Emergency
1) Stay Calm: Always try to keep a clear head. Staying calm allows you to properly assess the situation and determine the necessary next steps.
2) Contact Your Dentist: In emergencies, contact your dentist immediately. Most dental practices set aside time for urgent cases. Please call our practice during opening hours for an emergency appointment. We will do our best to accommodate you as swiftly as possible.
3) Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief before seeing our team.
4) Preserve Dislodged Teeth or Restorations: Preserve dislodged teeth in milk or saliva, and keep broken dental restorations to potentially aid in reattachment.
5) Protect the Injured Area: For broken teeth or injuries causing bleeding, use sterile gauze or a clean cloth to apply pressure and stem the bleeding.
In Case of Emergency
If you’re currently suffering from a dental emergency and need help in Bristol, please give us a call at 0117 405 4369 during our opening hours. We offer emergency appointments to both registered and non-registered patients.
Click here to learn more about our emergency dental services.
Understanding what constitutes a dental emergency allows you to take quick and appropriate action when faced with urgent situations. Timely intervention not only alleviates pain and discomfort but can also save your teeth and prevent potential complications that could affect your oral health in the long term.
If you are still determining whether your case is considered a dental emergency after reading this blog post, please feel free to contact our friendly reception team for further guidance. We’re always here to help.