Types of Dental Emergencies

A dental injury or emergency can cause distress and serious pain. If you're not sure what constitutes as a dental emergency, read about the common injuries here and learn how to deal with them.

Abscessed Teeth and Dental Infections

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gums and a tooth. It's usually caused by severe tooth decay or trauma to the tooth. When bacteria enter the center of the tooth through an opening, an infection can result. Abscessed teeth can cause pain, infection, fever, swollen glands and more when not treated quickly.

Broken Denture

When you have full dentures, a fracture is one of the most serious complications you can experience. Broken dentures are most common with the top denture but can also occur on the bottom. A common cause of denture fracture is wear and tear over time. After years of use, the denture undergoes stress cycles of chewing and daily wear. Temperature in hot and cold foods will also wear down a denture. Another way a denture breaks is through accidental or incidental breakage, as there is risk of breakage every time you remove your denture. If your denture breaks or isn't fitting correctly, immediately bring it into the dentist for repairs or a replacement.

Broken, Loose or Avulsed Teeth

For adults, facial trauma may result in an injury as small as chipped enamel, to one as severe as completely knocking a tooth out of the socket. When a tooth is broken, it's a lot more than just a chip. You'll be able to see the white, dark and red components of the tooth and will probably experience moderate to severe pain, infection and swelling. If you don't treat an avulsed tooth quickly, it can result in a medical emergency. For a tooth that is knocked loose, you may experience pain, tenderness and some bleeding. In severe cases, the tooth might be pushed into the surrounding jaw, which requires instant dental emergency treatment. Finally, if a tooth is totally knocked out, there is a chance to save it. Stop bleeding with consistent pressure and if it doesn't stop in 30 minutes, seek emergency medical attention. Then rinse the tooth with saliva, milk or saline. Never touch, rub or scrub the root. Then place the tooth in a container with the rinsing fluid and immediately bring it to the dentist, where they can attempt to re-implant the tooth.

Soft-tissue injuries

Injuries to soft tissues, including tongue, cheeks, gums and lips, can cause bleeding. To control this bleeding, rinse your mouth in a mild salt-water solution. Then use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding spot for 15 to 20 minutes. A cold compress can control the bleeding and relieve pain, so hold one outside the affected area for five to 10 minutes. If bleeding doesn't stop, visit your dentist immediately or go to an emergency room.