Most Common Dental Emergencies

Dental EmergenciesWhen we consider all the tasks our teeth and gums help us accomplish – eating, chewing and making facial expressions, for example – it can seem amazing how durable they are, and how resistant to oral health challenges.

But things can and do go wrong in our mouth, and when they do, dental emergencies represent a condition that needs to be addressed quickly. Here’s a quick guide to the most common dental emergencies, with tips for what to do if you experience them.

Common Dental Emergencies

  1. Swollen face and gums – If you’re experiencing discomfort, tenderness and swelling in your gums and around your teeth, it could be an abscessed tooth, in which decay, a crack or a chip in the tooth, and/or advanced gum disease have allowed infection to invade the pulp of a tooth. The main methods of treatment are a root canal if the tooth can be saved, and an extraction if it cannot.
  2. Painful gums – If you’re experiencing bleeding gums, or irritation or tingling in your gums, you could have gingivitis or periodontitis, which represent the milder and the more serious forms of gum disease, respectively. Gum disease has been associated with systemic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer. It can be addressed by improving your oral hygiene, receiving a scaling and root planing treatment, and/or gum surgery to rectify the most advanced cases.
  3. Broken teeth – A broken tooth is possible anytime we bite down on a hard food or surface (including a nut or a bone in our food), or as a result of a blow to the head or face. If part of your tooth has broken off, visit your dentist to check for infection inside the tooth and to determine if a crown or another type of restoration is needed to protect what remains of the natural tooth.
  4. Dislodged teeth – A tooth can be knocked out of its socket through an accident or a collision during a contact sport. A dislodged tooth may be successfully re-implanted if you can get to a  dentist within the first hour. To increase the chances of re-implantation, place the tooth in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

“Dental emergencies don’t have to be life threatening if you know what to do,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist based in central Phoenix. “Always seek professional help promptly if you experience any of these conditions.”

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