Emergency Dentistry and Emergency Dentists

Dental emergencies are a fact of life – teeth chip, gums get cut and lips get bitten suddenly and without warning, giving rise to a dental emergency situation. Being prepared, and knowing what steps to take when you are faced with a dental emergency is of prime importance.  Many dentists in fact, will make special provision for dental emergencies by reserving a portion of their time schedule to deal with such emergency cases. Our comprehensive guide below gives an outline of what an emergency dentist deals with from day to day and also how different dental emergencies are dealt with.

Types of Dental Emergencies

Below are a few of the common dental emergencies that require treatment.

  • Chipped tooth
  • Bitten tongue or lip
  • Cracked tooth
  • Broken jaw
  • Tooth ache
  • Knocked out tooth
  • Objects caught between teeth
  • Extruded teeth

How are does an emergency dentist treat dental emergencies?

The type of treatment that an emergency dentist will prescribe will depend on the particular situation, below are a few common senarios and how they are treated.

Chipped tooth - A chipped tooth is rarely a disaster, and your emergency dentist is almost always certain to save your broken tooth. Before you see the dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, and reduce any swelling by using cold compresses. Your dentist may fix the tooth using a white filling. If a filling is not likely to help, your dentist may recommend a root canal and a crown.

Bitten Tongue or Lip - Injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, including the lips, tongue or cheek can occur often.  These injuries may be in the form of tears, puncture wounds or lacerations. First, clean the cut area, and reduce the swelling using a cold compress. If the cold compress doesn’t stop the bleeding or the swelling, visit the emergency room of the nearest hospital immediately to get the wound sutured. In case of a tongue laceration, simply pull the tongue forward, and place a piece of gauze to put pressure on the affected area. 

Cracked Tooth - A cracked tooth can manifest itself in the form of a toothache. The crack may be invisible to the eye, and may actually be invisible even in an X-ray. Your emergency dentist will use methods like bonding or root canal treatment depending on the size of the crack and the location. In extreme cases, your dentist may extract your tooth.

Broken Jaw - First, use an ice pack to reduce the swelling. Visit your dentist or an emergency room as fast as possible.

Toothache - A sudden toothache can throw your life out of gear. First, call your emergency dentist, and make an appointment. Use a dental floss to remove any food or other forms of debris, caught between the teeth. Don’t use any pain killers on the gums, because they can burn the gums. In the meanwhile, take an over-the-counter painkiller to ease the pain. An ice pack pressed against your face right at the source of the toothache will provide some relief.  Don’t use hot compresses on the affected area, and rinse your mouth with warm water.

Knocked Out Tooth - In case of a knocked out tooth, or an evulsed tooth, the most important thing is not to panic. First of all, locate the tooth, and immediately, call your dentist. While waiting to see the dentist, rinse the area, but don’t scrub. Don’t try to remove any of the tissue fragments that may be attached to the tooth.  If you can, insert the tooth back into its socket. If however this is not possible, or if you fear that you might swallow your tooth, place it in a glass of cold milk, or wrap in a clean cloth. Visit the emergency dentist as quickly as possible. If you act fast and can get to a dentist within 10 minutes, the tooth has a very good chance of affixing itself once again and taking root. If you wait for more than 2 hours, the chances of your tooth taking root again are slim.

Objects Caught Between Teeth - Never use sharp or pointy tools to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. Instead, use dental floss carefully to remove the object. Take care to protect your gums. If the object can’t be dislodged, contact a dentist immediately.

Extruded Teeth - Extruded teeth means teeth that have been pushed, either inside or outside. In such cases, the tooth should be pushed back to its normal position by using mild finger pressure. Do not force the tooth back into the socket, and make an emergency appointment to see the dentist.

Fractured Teeth - A minor fracture will be treated by your dentist using a sand paper disc. He might also restore the tooth using a composite restoration. He may even choose to leave it alone if it is a minute fracture. Whatever the treatment, the tooth has to be treated with great care over the next several days.

In case of a moderate fracture in which there is no permanent damage to your pulp, your dentist will make use of teeth restoration methods, including placing of a permanent crown to bring your tooth to its pre fractured condition. If there has been damage to your pulp, your dentist may make use of additional treatment options. Besides pulp damage, a moderate fracture can also involve damage to the dentin or enamel.

In case of a severe fracture, chances of recovering the tooth may be slim. Even so, your dentist will make use of specialized dental procedures to restore severely damaged teeth. Consulting a dentist for emergency treatment as soon as possible is therefore imperative.

Lost Fillings - If you’ve lost your dental filling, simply place a piece of sugarless chewing gum that has been softened, in the hole which contained the filling. Consult an emergency dentist as quickly as possible, to replace the filling.