The Importance of Having an Emergency Dentist
Dental emergencies can be inconvenient at best and extremely painful or even life-threatening at worst. When you or a loved one needs emergency dental care, then it’s comforting to know that your local dental office is there to help you. Certainly, here at Sanford Dental Excellence, we always do everything we can to see people in pain or discomfort as quickly as possible, usually on the same day. Our dentist, Dr. George Mitrogogos, will provide emergency care to diagnose and treat a problem, relieving discomfort and pain. When you have an emergency dental care appointment, you will also be provided with a treatment plan detailing any further treatment may be needed. Often, it’s necessary to properly restore a badly damaged tooth later on with a more permanent restoration than can be provided at your emergency appointment.
What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?
There are many different types of dental emergencies including damage to a tooth, having entirely or partially knocked out a tooth, or losing a crown or filling. Other dental emergencies include minor bleeding in the mouth, and injuries to your lips, cheeks or tongue. If you have any discomfort and are concerned about your dental health, then it’s always best to get in touch with us at Sanford Dental Excellence. Our friendly dental team can reassure you and can arrange for you to see Dr. Mitrogogos, and we can also offer lots of useful advice over the phone which will help to relieve discomfort until you come and see us. One of the most common dental emergencies is a toothache, and it is essential to seek treatment for any discomfort or pain as soon as you can.
What to Do If You Have a Toothache
A toothache can be extremely unpleasant, and most people will want to get treatment as soon as possible. One thing to try is to gently floss around the affected tooth because sometimes impacted food can slightly dislodge a tooth, causing pain. If this doesn’t help, please contact us for an emergency dental appointment. Often a toothache is caused by a severe tooth infection, where bacteria in the mouth have penetrated the innermost part of the tooth called the dental pulp and which contains the tooth nerve, which is why it’s so painful.
Bacteria can get inside a tooth if you have lost a filling, have untreated tooth decay, or if you have chipped or cracked a tooth. It’s necessary to eliminate the infection to get rid of the pain, generally with a root canal treatment. It’s vital to get treatment as quickly as possible because, without the proper dental care, the infection cannot clear up on its own. Sometimes it may seem as if the pain has improved because the tooth nerve eventually dies, but the infection is still present and must be treated.
Failing to get treatment can lead to a dental abscess, where the infection spreads beyond the tooth, and at this point, it can affect your general health. You may feel feverish, or out of sorts, you could have a temperature and facial swelling. This is most definitely a dental emergency, and you must seek treatment as quickly as you can. Another dental emergency that requires immediate professional care is a knocked-out tooth or having a tooth that has been partially knocked out.
What to Do If You Have Knocked out a Tooth
If you knock out a tooth, then come and see us immediately. There is a small window of opportunity where it may be possible to reinsert the tooth, but only very shortly after the accident. Retrieve the tooth, holding it by its crown and rinse off any dirt that is visible. If you can, carefully reinsert the tooth into the empty socket, making sure it faces the right direction. Hold the tooth in place with a clean finger or bite down gently on a piece of tissue until you can see our dentist. Otherwise, pop the tooth in a small container with a little milk or saliva, or you can store it inside your cheek, taking care not to swallow it. If a child knocks out a baby tooth, then don’t try to replace it because you could damage the permanent teeth underneath.
Coping with a Lost Filling or Crown
If you lose a filling, then it’s vital to replace it as soon as possible because otherwise, the tooth could become infected and decayed. In the meantime, you could try protecting the tooth by using a small piece of sugar-free gum which can be inserted into the cavity. Alternatively, you could use temporary dental cement that can be bought over-the-counter. If a crown has become loose, then you can try recementing it with temporary dental cement. Please do not use ordinary glue or superglue because this will damage your tooth and the crown and is most likely toxic. You will need to make an appointment to have the crown properly fitted refitted if possible, or otherwise, it can be replaced.
Mending a Chipped or Cracked Tooth
Chipped or cracked teeth can usually be repaired with tooth-colored composite resin which is bonded to the damaged areas, restoring strength and structure to these teeth. It is essential to mend even a slightly cracked because every time you bite down on the tooth, then this crack will open, letting in disease-causing bacteria.
When to Go to Your Emergency Room
Dr. Mitrogogos can help you with many dental emergencies, but if you suspect you may have broken your jaw and have taken a heavy blow to your jaw or head, it’s best to go straight to the emergency room where physicians can accurately diagnose and treat your injuries. Once you have recovered from these injuries, we can provide the appropriate care to repair any damage to your teeth or when needed to replace teeth entirely.
Although it may not be possible to prevent some dental injuries, many dental emergencies can be avoided or minimized through proper preventative dental care. Regular checkups and cleanings ensure dental health is maintained at an optimal level. Dental restorations do not last forever, and their timely replacement will help to protect your teeth.