If most people were asked what professional they hate visiting the most, a large majority would probably say dentists. However, given the importance of good dental care, visiting a dentist is usually done at least once a year or more barring any dental emergencies. Dental emergencies happen to many of us at one time or another.
The American Academy of Family Physicians states that dental emergencies are very common in America. Just what is a dental emergency that warrants a quick trip to the dentist? Obviously, a bad toothache is a sure sign that you want to see the dentist. However, sometimes medications may help relieve the pain depending on what’s causing the pain. Toothache aside, here are three top reasons to rush to the dentist.
When a tooth gets knocked out it’s a true emergency that requires a dentist’s attention as soon as possible. There’s a good chance that the tooth can be reinserted into the mouth and saved but only if you take the proper emergency measures. Pick up the tooth by the crown, which is the part that’s visible when it’s in your mouth. Make sure you don’t touch the root or you could damage it further.
Rinse it off very gently with water to make sure it’s clean. Make sure you don’t scrub it. As gently as you can, put the tooth back in your mouth and in the socket in exactly the same position it was in, making sure to not force it. Hold it in place until you can bite down on it. You want to bite gently but still trying to hold it in place.
If you can’t get it in the socket, you can put it either in a small covered bowl or in a glass of milk. According to WebMD, the sooner you can get the tooth in the socket, the better chance you have of saving the tooth. Tooth that have the best chance of survival are those reinserted within an hour.
If your tooth is loose or out of alignment, it’s vital that you see a dentist as soon as possible. Failure to get it taken care of can result it breaking off, falling out or even being swallowed accidentally. It can also cause pain if it’s not taken care of as soon as possible.
According to East Side Smiles, “before you can actually get to the dentist, try to put the tooth back in its place and gently bite down to hold it in place. Do not force the tooth or you can cause pain and more problems. If the dentist sees you right away, there’s a good chance the tooth can be anchored to adjacent teeth.”
Whether your tooth is cracked, chipped or fractured, it’s generally a dental emergency if you’re in pain. A chipped tooth may not cause any pain, so you can wait a couple days to see the dentist. If the tooth is fractured or cracked, it’s generally an indication that there may be damage to either the inside of the tooth, the outside or both. It definitely constitutes a dental emergency.
If the fracture is caused by facial damage, apply some ice or a cold compress to the face to reduce or eliminate swelling. You may also wish to take some mild pain relief medication until you actually get to the dentist and get the tooth fixed. Although the dentist may need to take an x-ray, chances are good that the tooth can be repaired.
Knowing when you have a true dental emergency can be very difficult. We all have a different definition of what’s an emergency and what can wait. The Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center offers the following advice: if it hurts, it’s an emergency. This may very well be advice worth following.