What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies do not follow any schedule or timeline; they can occur anytime, anywhere. While it may not be possible to prevent dental emergencies entirely, knowing what constitutes an emergency and how to manage one can help minimize the damage and pain.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency For Most People?

According to the American Dental Association, any potentially life-threatening injury or situation that requires immediate treatment is a dental emergency. Some of the common dental emergency cases that Dr. Nielsen comes across at Bell Road Dentistry include:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding 
  • Knocked-off tooth 
  • Dental infections or swellings that cause difficult breathing 
  • A fractured or chipped tooth 
  • Severe, uncontrolled toothache 
  • Dislocated or fractured jaw joint 
  • An object stuck between two teeth
  • A dislodged orthodontic wire that impinges on the oral soft tissues

How to Manage Common Dental Emergencies?

In case of a dental emergency, seek dental or medical help without delay. After controlling the bleeding, call your dentist immediately, explain the situation to them, and request an emergency appointment. If the emergency occurs out of business hours, you contact Dr. Nielsen at the emergency hotline number for Bell Road Dentistry. However, if you are out of town and cannot visit us, you should immediately walk into a nearby dental practice or hospital’s emergency room. 

Knocked-Out Tooth

In case of a permanent avulsed tooth, hold it by the crown-end and gently wash it to remove debris. Try to insert the tooth back into its socket gently; don’t apply excessive force if you can. Instead, keep the tooth inside a jar containing milk or tooth preservative solution. If these are not available, you can simply keep the tooth inside your cheeks while you drive to the dentist’s office. 

Uncontrolled Bleeding

Try to identify the site of the bleeding. Afterward, place a clean cloth over the bleeding area and apply pressure with your fingers to stop the bleeding, and rush towards your dentist’s office or nearby emergency room.

Severe Toothache

If you have a painful toothache that does not go away after taking pain medication, it is cause for concern as it may be due to an underlying dental infection. Gently clean the affected tooth with a cloth and rinse with warm water to remove any foreign object. While you’re waiting to see your dentist, apply ice packs over the affected side’s skin to minimize swelling and pain. 

An Impinging Orthodontic Wire

If an orthodontic wire has become loose and its edge hurts your soft tissues, apply utility wax over the border to prevent further damage. Alternatively, you may chew a piece of chewing gum and then use it over the sharp edge. This will avoid any soft tissue injury while waiting for an emergency appointment. 

What To Do If You Are Experiencing A Dental Emergency

At Bell Road Dentistry, Dr. Nielsen believes that while dental emergencies cannot be avoided altogether, they can be prevented. However, if you or a loved one experiences a dental emergency, the first step is to determine whether it is serious enough to head to the emergency room. If it is not life threatening or doesn't require visiting the emergency room, Bell Road Dentistry is there for you. Call us immediately for an emergency appointment,  and we will do our best to take care of you right away.