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Posted on: June 15, 2020
When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Middletown
How Do I Know If I Have a Dental Emergency?
Oral health problems can take many forms, but knowing what’s a dental emergency can help you receive the treatment you need and prevent additional damage. Most oral health professionals agree that intense mouth pain that’s not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine should be evaluated by an emergency dentist, especially if the pain is interfering with your daily life. Also, if you’ve sustained a mouth injury that results in bleeding, you should seek emergency care.
Other examples of a dental emergency in Middletown include:
- A knocked-out-tooth
- Swollen airway that affects breathing
- Loose, cracked, or chipped teeth
- Fever or chills associated with mouth pain
While less critical and not considered an emergency, these situations can be treated by a dentist who provides walk-in dental services:
- Losing a porcelain veneer, crown, or filling
- Damage to a dental bridge
- Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing
- Sudden tooth sensitivity
7 Signs You Have a Dental Emergency in Middletown
Here are the most common signs that you’re experiencing an oral health emergency and need immediate treatment from a dentist.
1. Dry socket pain and infection after extraction: After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the vacated space and serves as a protective barrier that promotes healing. If the blood clot becomes dislodged or breaks down, the nerves and bone at the extraction site become exposed. This is known as a dry socket, and it’s the most common complication that can develop after having a tooth extracted. Call our office as soon as possible if you develop any of these signs of infection: bad breath, headache, dizziness, and pain that spreads to the ear and neck.
2. A fractured or dislodged filling: The main danger associated with a broken filling is the risk of the rough, sharp edges of the filling injuring your tongue or cheek. Emergency treatment will also protect the damaged tooth from further damage.
3. A fractured jaw: A fractured jaw is a serious injury that can cause permanent alignment issues and tooth damage if not treated immediately.
4. A knocked-out-tooth: Knocking out a tooth can be a shock, but there’s a high success rate if you receive treatment quickly, ideally within an hour of the injury occurring, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Keeping an emergency tooth-preservation kit on hand can be beneficial if you frequently play contact sports. We recommend products with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval.
5. Soft-tissue injury: If you’ve suffered an injury to the gums or other soft tissues of the mouth, it’s an emergency situation, and you should see your dentist as soon as possible to treat the existing wound and ensure your teeth aren’t affected.
6. Bleeding that doesn’t stop: If you’ve had a tooth extracted or suffered a blow to the face that results in bleeding, emergency care is needed if you can’t control the bleeding at home.
7. Facial swelling: Swelling along your face or jaw can be a sign of a serious oral health issue, such as an abscess, infection, allergic reaction, TMJ dislocation, and inflammation. It’s important to treat any of these conditions as soon as possible.
Why a Tooth Abscess Requires Emergency Treatment
A tooth abscess is a serious infection caused by bacteria, and it can become deadly when not treated. The infection occurs when there’s a buildup of pus that forms around a tooth’s root. The bacteria can spread quickly, destroying the teeth, bone, and soft tissues near the site of infection.
Prompt treatment can cure the infection and increase the chances of saving the affected tooth. Life-threatening complications can occur the longer treatment is delayed, including sepsis and mediastinitis. Mediastinitis, which has a 40% mortality rate, occurs as a result of swelling and irritation where the lungs are located in the mid-chest.
The primary symptom of a tooth abscess is throbbing pain near the affected tooth. It can also these additional symptoms:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Swelling in the face or cheek
- Pain that spreads to jaw, neck, or ear
These symptoms should be taken seriously and require emergency dental care if you suddenly develop them. Treatment depends on the severity of the infection and typically involves draining the abscess and taking a round of prescription antibiotics. In an attempt to save the affected tooth, your dentist will perform a root canal. An extraction may be required if a root canal can’t save the tooth.
Is Your Chipped Tooth Considered an Emergency?
There are a number of ways a tooth can become chipped or broken, and the damage can be minor or extensive depending on the injury. Biting onto something hard, using your teeth as a tool to open a bag, sports injuries, and tripping and falling are just a few ways a tooth can chip or break. It’s imperative to remain calm in this type of emergency situation. Call your dentist’s office right away if your tooth chips or breaks. Your dentist may suggest that you come into the office immediately or schedule an appointment. Your dentist will likely recommend rinsing your mouth with warm water to clean the area and advise you on what to do next.
We recommend seeking immediate treatment from a dentist if you’re in pain or if the area surrounding the affected tooth is bleeding. It’s usually not considered an emergency situation if you’re not feeling any pain and there isn’t any bleeding. If this is the case, we’ll work with you to schedule an appointment within a few days so your mouth can be carefully examined by a dentist. A cold compress applied to the affected area can help minimize swelling, and you should make sure to keep your clean.
Although most accidents usually can’t be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing an emergency that causes a chipped or broken tooth. Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports can protect your teeth from damage. If you frequently grind your teeth, wearing a mouthguard at night can also protect your teeth. Your dentist can design a custom-fitted mouthguard for the exact shape of your mouth.
By staying proactive about your oral health through good oral hygiene at home and routine professional cleanings, it’s possible to prevent a dental emergency. During these visits, your dentist can check for signs of tooth decay, loose fillings, and infection, helping to reduce your risk of requiring emergency services. However, since not every urgent oral health problem can be prevented, our dedicated and experienced team is here for you if you ever experience a dental emergency in Middletown.