A dental emergency is an oral health issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Many oral health concerns can wait until you schedule a dental appointment within the next few weeks or days. However, with a true dental emergency, that is not the case.
Here are a few dental problems that necessitate an emergency visit to the dentist.
A Broken Tooth
When a tooth breaks, the innermost layer, which is called the pulp, may be exposed. The pulp includes the dental nerves and the blood vessels of the tooth. Once the pulp is no longer protected by the dentin and the enamel, bacteria can invade the tooth to cause an infection that can result in the tooth's death.
A tooth dies when the pulp dies or becomes so traumatized that it is irreparable. Once the tooth is no longer alive, it can only be treated by a root canal or extraction. However, if the chip in a tooth has not breached the pulp, it may be repaired using bonding material or a cap. Nevertheless, a dental professional needs to examine the tooth to determine the extent of the damage and perform the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
A Dislodged Tooth
If a tooth is dislodged from its socket, it cannot remain out of the mouth indefinitely and still reattach. As the tissues that hold the tooth in place start to die, the chances of a successful reattachment wane. Thus, it is important to place the tooth back in position quickly.
A tooth that has been knocked from the mouth should be preserved in milk or in the pocket of an inner cheek until you can reach the dentist's office. The dentist can help the tooth reattach properly or repair the damaged soft tissues and install a dental implant or fixed bridge to replace the dislodged tooth.
An abscess that appears on the gums should not be taken lightly. It can actually result in a life-threatening emergency if the infection causing the condition becomes systemic.
Signs of an abscess include pain, swelling, a foul taste and smell in the mouth, redness, and seeping pus. To treat an abscess, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics and lyse the abscess to release the buildup of pus. The longer a worsening abscess remains untreated, the greater the chance of systemic problems from the condition.
If you suspect that you are experiencing a dental emergency, contact the office of an emergency dentist in your local area for prompt treatment. They can provide further information regarding dental emergencies.