What is Considered a Dental Emergency?
The American Dental Association defines a dental emergency as “potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection.” So what exactly are the conditions that fall under this definition? You may be surprised to learn that a toothache or bleeding gums fit the criteria of a dental emergency. The reason? Both may indicate infection and may compromise your overall health. Read on to learn more about injuries, pain, and other signs of various dental emergencies.
Trauma to the Jaw or Teeth is a Dental Emergency
Any direct trauma to the jaw, teeth, or area of the face near your mouth is a dental emergency. Common causes of trauma to the mouth include bicycle and auto accidents, falls, sports injuries, or being hit in the face with any object.
Trauma is an emergency because one or more teeth may have sustained injuries such as fractured teeth, a loose tooth, a cracked crown, a knocked-out tooth, or a lost dental filling. If you experienced a direct impact on the teeth or jaw, you should see a dentist ASAP.
Severe Tooth or Jaw Pain is a Dental Emergency
Mild or achy tooth pain is not necessarily an emergency, but you should book a dental appointment soon. Severe tooth or jaw pain, on the other hand, is a dental emergency. This is because it may signify an infection (periodontal disease), which can spread into the bloodstream if left untreated.
If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing severe or moderate pain, contact your dentist and explain your symptoms. If you have pain accompanied by swelling or fever, or if a tooth feels loose, you’re experiencing a dental emergency and should be treated immediately.
Bleeding in the Mouth is a Dental Emergency
If you are bleeding in the mouth, you need emergency dental care. Bleeding may indicate severe gum disease, a dental abscess, infections, untreated tooth injuries, and in some cases, oral cancer. You must seek emergency dental treatment for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Swelling of the Gums or Face is a Dental Emergency
Swelling of the gums may indicate several conditions, ranging from gum disease to an infection or an abscessed tooth. All are considered dental emergencies as they may potentially cause severe sickness. If your gums or your face is swollen, it’s crucial to see a dentist immediately.
A Broken Crown or Lost Filling is a Dental Emergency
Damaged or missing dental restorations may not seem like an emergency. However, when a dental crown breaks, or comes loose, or a filling falls out, the interior of the tooth is at risk of infection. Notify your dentist right away for emergency treatment to protect your oral health by having your dental restoration repaired or replaced.
A Knocked-Out Tooth is a Dental Emergency
A knocked-out tooth is a true emergency, and you have limited time to get to a dentist to save the tooth. If your tooth is knocked completely out, but you can find it, pick it up by the crown and attempt to put it back in the socket. If it does fit easily in the socket, do not try to push it. Instead, put the tooth in a small glass of milk or saliva and head to the dentist immediately. In some cases, a knocked-out tooth may be saved.
Get Emergency Dental Care in Lincoln, NE
If you're suffering a dental emergency, call Family and Implant Dentistry at 402-486-0825 for priority dental care. Click here for instructions on how to handle minor dental emergencies. To schedule a non-emergency appointment, you are welcome to send us a message, and we will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your appointment.