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Posted on: June 15, 2020
When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Orlando
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
For many oral health professionals, a true dental emergency must meet very specific criteria. An injury that affects the soft tissues of the mouth, such as a cut or laceration to the tongue, lips, or cheeks is considered an emergency. Pain that’s severe enough to impact your day-to-day activities and isn’t alleviated by taking over-the-counter pain relievers should also be treated by an emergency dentist.
Oral health professionals also consider these symptoms to be a dental emergency in Orlando:
- A knocked-out tooth
- Swollen airway that affects breathing
- Loose, cracked, or chipped teeth
- Fever or chills associated with mouth pain
Although the following situations aren’t thought of as an emergency, you can benefit from seeing a dentist who offers walk-in dental services:
- Sudden tooth sensitivity
- Damage to a dental bridge
- Losing a porcelain veneer, crown, or filling
- Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing
7 Signs that Indicate You Have a Dental Emergency in Orlando
To learn more about what constitutes an emergency, take a look at seven common conditions that require prompt treatment from a dentist:
1. A knocked-out tooth: If you lose a tooth, it’s imperative to visit your dentist as soon as you can. Seeing a dentist who can reinsert the tooth into its socket within an hour of the injury occurring typically results in the best treatment outcome, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Anyone who regularly plays football, hockey, or other contact sports can also benefit from an emergency tooth-preservation kit that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
2. Dry socket pain and infection after extraction: it’s estimated that 2%–5% of people who have a tooth extracted will develop a dry socket. This occurs when the bone and nerves are exposed after a blood clot fails to develop properly, leaving the area exposed to food, drinks, and air. A dry socket can become very painful and may not be alleviated by taking over-the-counter pain medication. Call our office immediately if you develop an unpleasant taste in your mouth, pain that radiates to your ear and neck, headache, or foul breath.
3. A fractured jaw: A jaw fracture is a very serious injury that requires emergency treatment to restore proper jaw alignment and prevent permanent damage.
4. Injury to the gums: Cuts or lacerations to the gums, tongue, lips, and cheek should be treated as soon as possible by your dentist who will examine the condition of your teeth and treat the existing wound.
5. Facial swelling: Since there are many serious conditions that can cause facial swelling and pain, it’s important to receive a diagnosis from a dentist as soon as possible. Abscess, inflammation, an allergic reaction, TMJ dislocation, infection, or fracture are emergency conditions that can cause facial pain and swelling.
6. Excessive bleeding: Hemorrhaging can occur after experiencing trauma to the face or as a complication after a tooth extraction. Emergency care is needed if you’re unable to control the bleeding at home.
7. A fractured or dislodged filling: A chipped or broken filling can irritate and possibly injure the soft tissues of the mouth, including the tongue and cheek. To prevent this from occurring and protect the exposed tooth from additional damage, you must receive prompt treatment.
Does a Tooth Abscess Need Emergency Treatment?
A tooth abscess is a serious infection caused by bacteria, and it can become deadly when allowed to progress. The infection occurs when there is 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.
A tooth abscess has the highest rate of success when you receive prompt treatment before the infection spreads to other parts of the body. Life-threatening complications can occur the longer treatment is delayed, including sepsis. The mortality rate can be as high as 40% if the patient develops mediastinitis, which occurs when the area in the middle of the chest near the lungs becomes swollen and irritated.
While experiencing throbbing pain near the affected tooth, is one of the most common signs of a tooth abscess, the infection can also cause these symptoms:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Swelling in the face or cheek
- Pain that spreads to jaw, neck, or ear
If you suddenly develop these symptoms, you should immediately seek emergency dental care. To drain the abscess, your dentist will make a tiny incision to allow the pus to drain. To help clear the infection, you’ll likely be prescribed 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.
Cracked Tooth: Is It an Emergency?
While you might think that since tooth enamel is made of a hard material it’s not vulnerable to chips or cracks, there are limits to the strength of tooth enamel. Playing sports without wearing a protective mouthguard, receiving a blow to the face, or even grinding your teeth or biting into a popcorn kernel are all examples of activities that can cause a cracked or chipped tooth. Please call our office immediately if you crack or chip a tooth. We’ll help you navigate the next steps during this emergency situation, which will first involve rinsing with warm water to keep your mouth clean.
For a tooth with a minor chip or crack that’s not bleeding or causing pain, you can usually schedule an appointment with a dentist so your mouth can be examined and a treatment plan can be developed. Applying a cold compress to the area several times a day can minimize swelling. However, a serious fracture that bleeds or causes intense pain should be treated as an emergency.
If you have bruxism (teeth grinding) or regularly play high-impact sports, our dentists recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect against an emergency from happening. These appliances can be created to fit the unique shape of your mouth, safeguarding your teeth from damage.
Preventing a dental emergency begins with practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and exam. It’s also important to be able to identify the signs of an oral health issue that requires emergency services, so you can take immediate action when an accident or injury occurs. If you’re dealing with a dental emergency in Orlando, call our office right away to learn about the next steps to take.