If you live long enough, you’re likely to experience some type of dental emergency. And sometimes, no matter what you may believe, a situation may not be an actual dental emergency. Knowing the difference, and knowing how to handle a real emergency until you can receive emergency dental care, makes it more likely that you or a loved one can preserve the health and appearance of your teeth and smile.
The following are some common situations that you may encounter that involve the teeth, mouth or gums.
To determine if bleeding gums are likely an emergency or not, it is important to learn what led up to this development. It is not uncommon to experience bleeding gums when you overdo it by strongly brushing and flossing your teeth. You may also have used a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard.
In the case of bleeding gums following a vigorous brushing or flossing session, simply back off on the pressure to see if that prevents your gums from bleeding in the future. If not, this could be an indication of gum disease. Although gum disease is not an acute emergency, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist to rule it out.
If you experience bleeding gums immediately after some type of mouth or facial trauma, this may indicate an emergency. In most cases, the bleeding will stop fairly soon, and no treatment will be needed. However, since you cannot know at the time, it’s best to make an emergency appointment with your dentist to rule out problems like fractures or damage to a tooth root.
Knocked Out Tooth
A knocked out tooth is a classic dental emergency requiring immediate emergency care to save the tooth. Until you can reach your dentist or emergency dentist, do the following:
- Pick up the tooth by the crown (the white part). Never touch the root.
- Run some clean water over the tooth if it needs cleaning. Do not scrub!
- If you are able, return the tooth into its socket.
- If you cannot put it back into its socket, place the tooth in a cup of milk or against your cheek and gums.
- See your dentist as soon as possible.
Missing or Damaged Restorations
Restorations like fillings and crowns are meant to strengthen and protect teeth that have been damaged by things like tooth decay. However, they are not expected to last forever. Biting down on something hard, or experiencing dental trauma, could cause them to loosen, become damaged, or even fall out.
Unless you are experiencing significant pain, this may not represent an acute emergency. However, a missing restoration can eventually lead to tooth decay, so make sure that you contact your dentist soon for an appointment.
The Bottom Line
If you are ever in doubt about whether a specific situation qualifies as a dental emergency or not, it’s best to play it safe, and go ahead and contact your dentist to receive their recommendations. Learn more today. Contact us today.