Managing the Unexpected in Dentistry

Dental emergency refers to issues pertaining to teeth and supporting tissues that need to be fixed professionally and on a priority basis. Dental emergencies do not necessarily involve pain, although pain is a common signal that something is amiss. Some common dental emergencies are:


Toothache is an all-pervasive dental emergency. It is not an ailment in itself, but is rather symptomatic of a deeper malady. If one is afflicted by a toothache, it is good to check the gums surrounding the affected tooth for inflammation, bleeding and presence of foreign objects. Food lodged in the gum could be removed by flossing and pain can be controlled by placing a cold compress against the mouth. A sudden toothache can be managed by rinsing the mouth with warm water, using dental floss to remove lodged food and consuming a painkiller every 4-6 hours. It is important to eventually approach a 24-hour dental provider as toothaches can carry serious underlying causes.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth fractures and infections may sometimes manifest themselves as unexpected tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth would need urgent dental care if the teeth become sensitive without any reasons.

Dislodged Tooth

A tooth that is completely knocked out can be cleaned carefully with water and put back into its socket or stored temporarily in a cup of milk till one gets to an emergency dental office for treatment. It is not advisable to scrub the tooth and remove attached tissue fragments, although it is acceptable to rinse off the tooth root with water if it is covered with dirt. The best course of treatment is to call a dentist as a tooth is no longer viable after an hour.

Lost Crown

A person whose crown has fallen off should make an appointment to see the dentist at the earliest. In the interim, the crown should be slipped back over the tooth after coating the inner surface with a dental cement, toothpaste or denture adhesive to keep it in place. A patient who has lost his filling should stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity or use dental cement as a temporary measure until a visit to the dentist materializes.

Fractured Teeth

Prompt care can prevent infection and structural damage in the aftermath of a broken or fractured tooth. The tooth should be rinsed with warm water by holding it at its crown and never touching the root.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth can be caused either by an injury or a gum disease. An abscess can lead to severe pain, facial swelling, bad breath, pus-filled sores, fever and other medical conditions. A person who has bitten his tongue or lip should clean the affected area and apply a cold compress, and visit the emergency room in the event of excessive bleeding.

Dental emergencies can take place anytime, anywhere and assume any form. The good news is that they need not remain emergencies for long.

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