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The Right Way to Deal With Dental Emergencies Right

woman with toothache

If you’re experiencing intense pain in your mouth, uncontrollable swelling, or bleeding from your mouth or have a fever, call your dentist in Hudson Valley right away. If your dentist is not available for emergency dentistry, visit the hospital emergency room. Not all emergencies are immediately life-threatening, but all dental emergencies can become life-threatening if they’re not dealt with in an expeditious and effective manner.

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

If a dental issue could be life-threatening in the moment or, if it isn’t properly cared for, sometime down the line it constitutes a dental emergency and should be looked at by a dental professional immediately.

What Are the Causes of Dental Emergencies

Mouth conditions like temperomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, gum disease, tooth decay and older, bigger fillings are factors in the majority of dental emergencies. However, a sudden accident can also cause a dental emergency. As such, activities like contact sports, eating hard foods, grinding your teeth or using your teeth for tasks for which they’re not intended (like tearing or opening objects) are big risk factors. Other incidents that could cause a dental emergency include accidents on the road or job or falling while playing. Jaw locking or pain in the jaw joint can lead to a dental emergency as well.

How to Deal With Common Emergency Dental Situations

1. Toothache

You may need emergency care for a toothache, but you also may not. Even if it isn’t an immediate emergency, however, it still requires prompt attention. Not only is that because it can lead to worse dental problems, but because it could indicate a more severe underlying problem already present.

Tooth pain can result from many different sources, such as:

  • Gum disease
  • Fractured tooth
  • Dental decay
  • Tooth pulp infection
  • Sinus infections
  • Items stuck between teeth

Always inform your Hudson Valley dentist when you experience a toothache. Let your dentist help you figure out if it’s an emergency or not.

2. Tooth Trauma

Tooth trauma can result in chipped or cracked teeth or teeth knocked loose or even completely out of its socket. Here’s some advice for handling such situations.

Knocked-out Teeth

Should you have a tooth knocked out, follow this guidance for the appropriate care: Find the tooth, if you can. Be sure not to hold it by the root but by the crown. Avoid scrubbing the tooth root or removing any pieces of tissue from it. Avoid drying the tooth; it needs to stay moist. Also avoid using chemicals or soap on it.

While you won’t be able to permanently replant the tooth yourself, if you can place it back into its socket and hold the tooth in place, you could prevent the teeth from starting to shift to fill the space. If you’re unable to place it back in its socket, hold it in your mouth by your cheek. And, if you can’t do this, place it with saliva, milk or an emergency preserving solution–but not tap water–in a clean container.

Get yourself and your tooth to your emergency dentist. Ideally, you can do this within the first half hour after it comes out, but the dentist may still be able to save the tooth even after an hour of being out your mouth. If you can’t see your dentist before this, you may lose the tooth. Then, you’ll need to discuss with your dentist other restorative solutions.

Broken or Chipped Teeth

The most common dental trauma is a cracked, chipped or broken tooth. Fortunately, they’re also generally minor. Nonetheless, quick treatment can help keep infection away and could help save the tooth. If you find the missing fragment, take it with you to the appointment, but don’t delay. You do need to get to your emergency dentist in enough time to get the piece back in; otherwise the dentist will have to replace it with a dental restoration.

 Cut or Bitten Lip, Cheek or Tongue

If you cut or bite your lip, cheek or tongue, don’t panic. Because of all the blood vessels in those tissues, the bleeding may seem profuse and make the damage seem worse than it really is. Most mouth injuries are minor and will heal perfectly well on their own. All you need to do is keep the area clean to keep infection away.

If, however, the bleeding won’t stop, especially if 15 minutes have already passed, call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. After the doctor remedies the immediate danger of the persistent bleeding, your dentist can take care of actually fixing the mouth injury, especially if it involves a puncture, deep cut, tear or extends to the face. Also reach out to your emergency dentist if you notice any indications of infection, such as a fever, pus, lingering tenderness and pain or redness or swelling spread around the wound.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

To protect yourself from impact injuries, wear the right protective gear when doing athletic activities, avoid biting or chewing anything but food and don’t grit or grind your teeth.

To protect yourself from infection, keep your teeth and mouth clean. Twice each day, brush your teeth, and once each day, floss them.

Lastly, make sure to see your dentist in Hudson Valley once or twice a year for a regular checkup and cleaning. In addition to removing any harmful bacteria and other debris that you couldn’t reach with your daily practice, the dentist can also detect any signs of dental issues to address.

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