Signs You Might Need Emergency Dental Care

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and can happen in a variety of environments. Despite the actual scenario, there are two things that each dental emergency usually has in common — it requires immediate care, and it happens at the most inopportune time, like after regular business hours, or on weekends or holidays.

So now what? Don’t freak out, says Nate Gunning, DDS at Signature Smiles Dentistry. An emergency dentist is here to help. In this blog, Dr. Gunning shares his insights on the signs you might need emergency dental care.

Inconvenience versus dental emergency

Let’s start out by discussing the difference between an inconvenience and an emergency situation. Scenario one: You’re at your cousin’s wedding, and the bridal party is out celebrating the night before; you bite into an ice cube, and part of your veneer breaks off. Scenario two: You’re walking up the aisle at your cousin’s wedding, and you trip and fall, dislodging a tooth in the process. Although a broken veneer isn’t a great situation, it doesn’t constitute an emergency; however, a knocked-out tooth definitely requires emergency dental care.

A rule of thumb for which situations fall under a dental emergency include:

Here are some specific scenarios that require emergency dental care and why.

Broken or knocked-out tooth

If you’re involved in an accident, experience a sports injury, or trip and fall, and the impact loosens or dislodges a tooth, seek emergency dental care. As is the case with all dental care, doing everything you can to save your natural tooth is our top priority. If the tooth is loose but still in the socket, keep it there.

If it’s fallen out of your mouth, but you can get it back into the socket, gently do so. While in transit to our office, gently bite down on gauze or a clean cloth to hold it in place. Take care not to swallow the tooth though. If you can’t get it back into the socket, keep it clean and moist while you’re on your way. Rinse off any debris or dirt, and do so without touching the root. Either put the tooth between your cheek and gums or in a small container of milk. The dentist may be able to reattach the tooth if you get there quickly enough.

Bleeding or jaw injury

Another sign you may need emergency dental care is when your mouth starts bleeding. Come in immediately if you have lacerations to the gums, cheek, lips, and tongue; chipped, cracked, or broken teeth; or a jaw injury. Immediate attention will stop the bleeding and repair the wound, as well as lessen the likelihood of permanent tooth, gum, or jaw damage.

Severe pain, inflammation, and fever

The trifecta of signs that indicate you need emergency dental care is severe pain, inflammation, and fever. These symptoms typically mean your body’s fighting an infection. In terms of dental issues, an abscessed tooth can result in all three symptoms. A tooth abscess is a pus-filled infection of the inside part of the tooth known as the pulp, where the blood vessels and nerves are located.

If you think you may have an abscessed tooth, don’t simply take a pain reliever and go the wait-and-see route. Contact your emergency dentist right away so he can figure out what’s going on. The danger of untreated tooth infections is that they can spread to the jawbone and the soft tissues of the neck and face. In rare cases, dental infections can even travel to the brain and heart.

Dental emergencies happen, but know that Signature Smiles Dentistry is here to help when you need us most. Call us now at 720-513-8405, or contact us online to let us know you’re coming in.

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