When Do You Need Emergency Dental Treatment? A Helpful Guide
Types of Dental Pain to Have Urgently Treated
Nobody should have to suffer from tooth pain. Tooth pain can be described as anything from sensitivity to sharp, throbbing pain. Some types of tooth pain definitely constitute an emergency and should earn you immediate relief at your nearest emergency dental clinic. If you’re one of those people who hold out through severe pain, read this to see if you should pick up the phone. (But probably, you should).
Severe Dental Pain
If you’re experiencing a toothache or any other form of dental pain, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Severe discomfort should never be ignored. This is especially the case when the pain is constant and doesn’t go away.
Our team of emergency dentists can identify the root of the pain, which might stem from a dental abscess or a bacterial infection. If it’s the latter, allowing the infection to sit for too long can cause it to spread throughout your body, leading to severe health complications.
Pain From a Wisdom Tooth
Your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt through your gums. This typically occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood. If yours have partially erupted, you might experience many uncomfortable symptoms, including the following:
- Swelling and inflammation
- Tenderness at the site
- An unpleasant taste
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your dentist immediately. If the tooth does not erupt on its own, surgical extraction may be necessary.
Post-operative Pain Following Dental Procedure
Following dental surgery or an in-office procedure, you’ll likely be numb for a few hours. When the numbness wears off, you might feel a little sore at the affected area. For this reason, your dentist might prescribe pain medication to keep you comfortable.
In the days that follow, it’s important to adhere to your dentist’s instructions on post-operative oral care. Keeping your mouth as clean as possible can help you ward off an infection and quicken recovery time.
While rare, there is a possibility that an infection can occur. A few of the most common signs to look out for include the following:
- Bleeding for more than 24 hours
- Throbbing pain that medication cannot relieve
- Continued, increased swelling in your face, jaw or gums
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Fever (persistent, low-grade, increasing)
Let us know as soon as possible if you experience any of these issues following an emergency dental procedure in our office.
A dental abscess occurs when a pocket of pus in your tooth leads to an infection. It normally forms when a cavity is left untreated or as a symptom of severe gum disease. It can also occur following trauma to your mouth.
This condition is both severe and potentially life-threatening, so it’s important to contact your dentist as soon as you see the signs of one forming. If left untreated, a dental abscess can lead to the following health complications:
- Severe, persistent toothache
- Facial swelling
- Tender lymph nodes in your neck
- Tooth sensitivity
Depending on the severity of your abscess, you could also find it difficult to open your mouth or swallow. If the infection causes inflammation in your throat, it can even lead to breathing difficulties.
Your dentist can follow the proper procedures to treat the abscess and drain it.
Time is of the essence any time you break a tooth. While a slightly chipped area usually doesn’t constitute an emergency, you should act quickly any time you experience a cracked or fractured tooth.
When the damage is this severe, there’s usually damage to both the outside and the inside of your tooth. Not only can this lead to intense pain, but any jagged edges could also cut your tongue or cheek.
If this happens, immediately rinse out your mouth with warm water to clean the affected area. If the break occurred as a result of facial trauma, apply a cold compress to your face to keep any swelling down. Call your dentist immediately and schedule emergency dental treatment to repair the impacted tooth.
If your tooth is knocked out, there is still a chance it could be re-implanted back into its original socket. Yet, this cannot occur unless you act quickly.
If possible, try to schedule an emergency dental visit within 30 minutes of the incident. Until you get there, try to follow these tooth-saving steps:
- Pick up and handle the tooth by the crown, not the root
- Gently rinse the tooth with milk or a saline solution to remove dirt and debris
- Reposition the tooth into its socket, holding it in place or gently biting down on it
If you can’t reposition the tooth back into place, it’s critical to keep it moist. Put it in milk, next to your cheek, or inside of an emergency tooth preservation kit if you have one available.
Lost or Broken Temporary Crown or Bridge
Do you have a temporary crown or bridge in place? If so, it’s susceptible to being lost or broken at any time. Common causes include the following:
- Facial trauma
- Grinding teeth
- Daily wear and tear
When this happens, it can lead to gum irritation and persistent pain. It can also cause tooth sensitivity to hot or cold.
The same team that evaluated you and fitted you for this dental restoration can help repair it or create a new one. Yet, it’s important to make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Contact us for emergency dental treatment.
As our state moves forward cautiously and makes plans to slowly reinstate certain services, we’re here for you. You can still visit our office for an emergency dental treatment, including tooth pain, even before the state is fully open.
Please call us for any dental-related questions or emergencies, and remember we can still schedule routine appointments in advance. We’re here for you and miss your beautiful smiles!