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What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Family and Cosmetic Dentist Located in Brooklyn, NY

If you have suffered any injury to your mouth that is causing uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain, or broken facial bones, contact your dentist or visit a hospital emergency room immediately as it needs urgent care. A dental emergency can lead to bigger problems down the road, if it is not treated timely, including the spread of infection, tooth mobility, and even tooth loss. Dr. Ella Dekhtyar provides emergency dental care to protect and preserve your teeth. She uses the most advanced technology and equipment to relieve pain, and control bleeding and recommends the best treatment options to help you feel better as soon as possible.

Certain injuries to teeth or gums can become serious, leading to further damage. Such instances are dental emergencies and require immediate care. It is important to know when you need emergency dental care and to contact your dentist right away, or go to the emergency room for treatment.

A tooth falling out, a toothache, a chipped tooth, or pain from a dental crown could be severe dental problems, but they are not always emergencies. It is essential to understand what constitutes a dental emergency and what to do in case you are faced with such a situation.

Dental Emergency

What is considered a dental emergency?

The American Dental Association defines dental emergencies as anything potentially life-threatening which requires immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, or to ease severe pain or infection.

A dental emergency is any tooth or gum-related problem that requires immediate attention. While not all dental concerns are emergencies, if you have bleeding that won’t stop or pain that is not getting better with medication or broken facial bones, you need dental emergency care.

Life-threatening dental emergencies can include:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding that results from trauma, accident, health condition, or other cause.
  • Soft-tissue infections with intraoral or extraoral swelling that potentially compromise the patient’s airway. Tooth infections can spread into the soft tissues, causing swelling without causing pain.
  • Trauma involving facial bones that block the patient’s airway, making it difficult to breathe.

Other dental emergencies may not be life-threatening, but they require urgent care.

A few of these include:

  • Severe tooth pain from decay or dying pulp
  • Third molar or wisdom tooth pain
  • Pain after extraction surgery or dry-sockets
  • Abscesses or other infections causing pain and swelling in the affected area
  • Objects caught under the gums or between teeth causing pain or swelling
  • Tooth chips, fractures, or lost fillings causing pain or trauma to the teeth, soft tissues, or both
  • Trauma to the teeth causing one or more teeth to become loose, displaced, or even lost
  • Orthodontic wires or other dental appliances becoming loose and cutting into the cheeks, gums, or both

Dental emergencies like injury to the teeth or gums should not be ignored as they can be very serious. Ignoring a dental problem increases the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more expensive and invasive treatments in the long run.

Is toothache considered a medical emergency?

While toothaches should be taken seriously, they may not require emergency dental care unless the pain is unbearable or does not subside even after you have taken pain-relieving medication.

Intense or recurring toothache can be the first sign of a bigger issue and lead to more critical problems if it is not cared for timely. It is essential to call your dentist if you are having a toothache. They can determine the type of pain you are having and schedule an appointment.

When to seek emergency dental services?

Agonizing toothache, an injury in which a tooth or several teeth have been knocked out, or a tooth abscess that is infected, are some of the instances when you may need emergency dental services. However, knowing when you should seek emergency dental help is significant.

Call your dentist if you have toothache, or have suffered an injury or trauma to your mouth that includes broken or missing teeth, cuts, or other damage to gums and inside of the mouth.

Your dentist can also provide care for:

These instances may not necessarily be dental emergencies, but they need medical attention as soon as possible.

Some causes of dental emergencies

In most cases, oral conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, TMJ disorders, and large and old fillings contribute to dental emergencies. However, multiple situations in daily life, such as playing sports, riding bikes, car accidents, work-related accidents, and even rough play in and around your home, can result in dental injuries that require a visit to an emergency dentist.

Other causes include chipping a tooth while drinking from glass bottles or eating and chewing something very hard that breaks or cracks a tooth. An infection can also lead to a tooth abscess which, could turn serious and require immediate dental attention, if it is not addressed timely. Serious dental damage cannot be reversed and you may need long or complicated treatments to manage things and restore your oral functions.

How would I know it is a dental emergency?

Not all dental pain requires you to seek emergency dental services, but if you have a toothache that lasts for more than three days, accompanied by loose teeth, a fever, or swelling, it is a dental emergency.

Remember, if you have severe bleeding or pain, you need dental help right away.

What should I do if I have a dental emergency?

The first thing you should do is contact your dentist. They will be able to advise you on what to do. If your dental emergency has occurred during regular business hours, they will see you right away. If it is outside usual business hours, other care options for a dental emergency include an urgent care center, or you can also go to an emergency room for serious oral injuries.

You will be given medications, such as antibiotics or pain relievers, to alleviate pain and swelling, followed by the most appropriate treatment.

What to do if I have teeth knocked out?

If one or more of your teeth have been dislodged, you should see your dentist right away.

While you go to the dentist’s office, here is what you can do to save and preserve your teeth:

  • Put teeth in milk
  • Pack a tooth socket, where the tooth came out in your mouth, with gauze, a cotton ball, or even a tea bag.
  • For chipped and broken teeth, rinse and save the pieces if possible.

If you have any dental problems, contact your dentist without wasting time. Leaving your dental issues unattended can lead to serious dental problems in the long run.

Experiencing a dental emergency can be an incredibly stressful time, but with good dental care and treatments, you can look forward to finding relief from pain and discomfort. At Broadway Family Dental, our skilled and experienced dentists are ready to face any dental emergencies and provide the highest quality care to help you at such a time. Dr. Ella Dekhtyar understands how critical a dental emergency can be, and that it needs immediate attention to prevent further damage and complications. She provides emergency dental care to relieve your pain and protect your teeth with the best treatment options.

Page Updated on Apr 9, 2024 by Dr. Dekhtyar (Dentist) of Broadway Family Dental

Broadway Family Dental
1152 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11221
(Bushwick, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant)
(718) 455-4400

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