A dental emergency arises when there is sudden oral damage, which causes pain and limits or prevents oral activities such as eating. It is similar to a medical emergency but involves damage to the gums, teeth, tongue, palate, jaw or inner cheeks and requires immediate attention by a dentist. Without dental treatment damage to the mouth may increase.
Types of dental emergencies
Dental emergencies may range from mild to severe and include:
- Broken teeth or tooth loss.
- Infected wisdom teeth or cysts.
- Spreading ulceration and bleeding gums.
- Oral abscesses.
- Inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
- Inflamed dental pulp (Pulpitis).
Oral pain, swelling and, in some cases, bleeding are all symptoms of dental damage that requires emergency treatment. As the mouth is neurologically connected to the head and body, other symptoms like headaches and nausea may be felt.
Causes of dental emergencies
These types of dental emergencies may have different causes, such as an injury inflicted during sports or physical activity, trauma, bacterial infection, abnormal cell growth (neoplasm), disease and poor habits.
Treatments for dental emergencies
Each dental emergency is evaluated on a case-by-case basis for diagnosis and treatment. Broken teeth may be saved through composite filling or be extracted for replacement with artificial teeth, such as bridges, dental implants and crowns. For infections, root canal treatment may be necessary or oral surgery. Dental care professionals at Ten the Pavement Dental Health are trained to manage dental and medical emergencies.
Prevention of dental emergencies
Leaving an oral condition untreated may not only lead to a dental emergency but can affect overall health, particularly if a person has other medical conditions, such as diabetes or cardiac problems. People can avoid dental emergencies by being careful during physical activities, wearing mouth guards during sports, visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and seeking treatment early for any dental or oral concerns.