Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day reduces the likelihood of most emergency dental situations. But even if you practice good dental health habits and visit the dentist twice a year, you may still have a dental emergency due to an injury or accident. Learn what to do and where to go, so you’re prepared in the event of an emergency. Albany County Dental Associates does its part to get you in to see the dentist quickly.
A dental emergency can occur without warning. Often, you or your kids need emergency dental care due to an accident like an errant blow to the face while playing a sport. Usually, though, you require emergency dental attention after biting down on something — like an ice cube, nut, hard candy or pen — that causes tooth pain.
But there are many reasons for needing urgent dental care. If you get hurt during normal business hours, you can rush to your local Albany-area restorative family dentist for a quick diagnosis and repair. Otherwise, you have to wait it out with careful self-care and over-the-counter pain medication. Call your dentist right away to see you can make arrangements to come in —or at least get instructions on your next steps.
Common Causes of a Dental Emergency
You may not know what qualifies as a dental emergency. Is it serious or will it pass after a little while? If the pain is minimal but consistent, you may be fine until the next day when you can see your dentist. But sometimes, the resulting pain in your gums, teeth or jaw are so intense that you have no choice but to seek immediate treatment.
Waiting too long to address your pain may complicate your dental emergency. And it’s unnecessary when you can get 24-hour emergency dental care. So visit your dentist or seek emergency dental care if you’re dealing with symptoms such as:
- A broken or knocked-out tooth. A broken tooth or a tooth that’s been dislodged is the most obvious reason to get emergency dental care. The resulting pain can limit your ability to function, and the injury can result in a lot of bleeding. If you don’t address the situation immediately, it may lead to permanent tooth loss.
- Unexplained tooth pain. Any pain that doesn’t have a clear causality needs a professional diagnosis. Maybe you bit down hard enough on something to crack your tooth. Or perhaps it’s a sign of a more serious condition, like an infection. You can’t know what it is until you go to a dentist for a thorough examination.
- Missing filling or crown. If a crown falls out, you usually feel it right away. Fillings fall out more frequently than you imagine. If you’re experiencing a metallic taste in your mouth, that’s an indicator that your filling is loose or nearly gone. Ignoring the pain can lead to urgent dental care in the form of a root canal.
- A lodged piece of food. Food — like nut shells or popcorn — can become lodged in your gums or between your teeth where you can’t get at it even with dental floss. It can cause pain and inflammation.
- Abscessed tooth. You may not even realize you have an abscessed tooth until the pain becomes intolerable. You can’t mistake an abscess for anything else because of the incredible pain you feel even from breathing, talking, drinking and eating.
- Exposed nerves. Like the pain from an abscessed tooth, the pain of an exposed nerve is extreme. And if your pain stops suddenly, it’s not a good sign because it means the nerve is so damaged that you can’t feel the pain anymore.
- Swelling in your mouth or jaw. You may notice swelling for several reasons, ranging from inflamed lymph nodes to cancer. Visit your dentist immediately if your mouth, gums or jaw start to swell.
- Bleeding gums. Occasionally, you may notice some minor bleeding when flossing. It’s usually caused by early gum disease or the build-up of plaque. That’s not serious, as long as you mention it to your dentist at your next scheduled appointment. But if the bleeding doesn’t stop and you also have pain or swelling, see your Albany-area dentist immediately.
Emergency Toothache Relief
If you have a toothache that over-the-counter pain medicine can’t resolve, go to your nearest 24-hour emergency dental care facility. You need emergency toothache relief. Your team at Albany County Dental Associates is available to advise you or see you when possible.
If you can’t get 24-hour emergency dental care, get in to see your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, there are some self-care emergency toothache relief tips that can help your pain, such as:
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water
- Try taking ibuprofen, as it’s a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory
- Peppermint tea bags can help numb the affected area for a short time
- Apply a hot or cold pack to the side of your face