Dental Emergencies | How to Handle a Dental Emergency

Lynn Martelli
Lynn Martelli

For most people, visiting the dentist is something you do every 6 or so months. Once you get used to the proper oral hygiene habits from an early age, these routine checkups become second nature. Fortunately, dental emergencies rarely happen and when they do, they are far between for most people. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare yourself for such an eventuality.

A dental emergency can happen to anyone, at any time. When it does, it’s important to know what to do. This will largely depend on the kind of emergency, which may involve severe bleeding, unbearable pain, loss of a tooth, or damage to the gums or inside of your mouth.

In this post, you will learn what you need to know about emergency dentistry and what you should do in a dental emergency. This way, you will be better prepared in case one of these scenarios happens to you.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

There are several scenarios in which you may feel that you need to contact an emergency dentist such as Broadly speaking, these scenarios fall under two categories: the onset of pain that signals underlying causes such as decay, or visible damage to your teeth or mouth.

While some of these are more severe than others and will require a visit to the A&E instead of an emergency dentist, several problems can be solved by visiting a qualified dental office.

One of the most common reasons why people end up visiting an emergency dentist is due to prolonged, unexplained pain in the gums and teeth, which could interfere with your daily life. One of the things that will qualify you for a trip to an emergency dentist include:

Severe dental pain: Whether you’re looking for a way to ease the debilitating pain, a tooth extraction, or a filling, this can be handled during your emergency dental appointment. For more complicated tooth issues such as wisdom teeth pain, then it is advised to see a wisdom tooth specialist such as

Uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth: If you’re facing intensive bleeding from your mouth, either through a dislodged tooth or a mouth injury, it’s important to get emergency dental assistance to stop it.

Knocked-out tooth: A strong impact or an injury could cause your tooth to come out, which could also cause other hidden damages. It’s essential to make an emergency dental appointment to ensure that the issue is addressed and no serious damage has occurred.

Infection: A mouth infection can lead to abscesses that could lead to tooth loss or even something more serious like a blood infection. An emergency dentist can help drain the abscess and treat the infraction to prevent further issues.

How to Deal with Dental Emergencies

If you experience some kind of dental injury while at home, there are some things you could do to help the process along until you get to a dentist. For instance, consider rinsing your mouth with warm water and gargling with warm salt (or baking soda) water mixture. This will help to clean out any debris that might be stuck on the gums around the injured.

If you have an intense toothache, you want to first establish if it’s an actual dental emergency. If the pain is accompanied by swelling in or around the face or mouth, it could indicate that the tooth infection has caused an abscess, which requires immediate treatment from a dentist. If the toothache comes quickly and is accompanied by other symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, or a stiff neck, it could be a sign of a jawbone infection, which also requires immediate treatment.

There are several things you should do to ensure that the issue doesn’t get worse. The following are the steps to take in a dental emergency:

Make an appointment immediately

The first thing you do is make an appointment with a dentist to be evaluated for any problems. With the pressure that the recent COVID pandemic and the NHS services underfunding has placed on many dental practices, you might have to wait a while to find an emergency dentist who can help.

Keep an emergency kit handy

It can be helpful to have a dental first aid kit at home, which contains some essentials before you reach a dentist. Painkillers should certainly be included. You also want to have some cotton wool pads, and an antiseptic mouthwash, which could come in handy. Don’t forget to also have some sugar-free gum. It might sound strange but these are perfect for plugging in gaps if a filling falls out.

What not to do:

During a dental emergency, it’s important to also avoid the following actions as they may complicate or worsen the situation:

Avoid touching the roots of teeth, only handle teeth by their visible crown

Avoid cleaning the affected tooth to help avoid blood vessel or nerve damage

Avoid using harsh chemicals to sterilize the tooth as they could worsen the damage

If you think you have a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to contact an emergency dentist near you to book an appointment.

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