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A Guide to Emergency Dentistry

It is not uncommon for individuals to have heard stories about the pain caused by emergency dentistry treatment, yet there is little evidence to back this up. While there is some discomfort involved in the majority of dental procedures, it is unlikely this course of action is any nastier than other forms.

For this reason, it is vital for patients to take action as soon as they experience what they perceive to be a dental emergency. However, another important factor to consider is what actually counts as this type of incident and what to do in events when it occurs.

Damage to the teeth, gums and jaw is not only painful, it can cause an alteration to the balance of the face, speech and ability to eat certain foods in the future. In many cases, the sooner treatment is sought, the more likely a person is to enjoy a full recovery.

What is a dental emergency?

Dental experts agree there are a number of ailments that should be considered an emergency, with patients urged to contact a professional regardless of the time.

Severe toothache:

Although this issue is usually minor and can be resolved during a regular dental check-up, more serious cases can occur very suddenly and cause a lot of pain. This is usually a result of a large cavity that has formed in the teeth due to lack of care, while other cases can be a sign of a dental abscess that can develop if tooth decay is left untreated.

Broken, chipped and cracked teeth:

Pearly whites are very fragile and are broken, cracked or chipped very easily. Often, this happens in a case of dental trauma that usually takes place on the field of play. Alternatively, a patient may have bitten down hard on the wrong type of food.

If decay is present in a tooth, its structure could already have weakened and made more susceptible to damage when consuming food and drink.

While there are a number of different forms of treatment on offer for this type of ailment, it is vital for patients to seek the assistance of an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Following an initial consultation, a professional will be able to determine if the issue is primarily cosmetic or whether the pearly white needs a filling, crown or complete extraction.

Lost fillings:

Many people can wait a day or so until they have a lost filling replaced, which is fine and should not cause too much damage. The issue begins to worsen when individuals leave the issue for a long period and food or other debris becomes trapped in the cavity.

Some dentists recommend filling the open space with a piece of sugar-free chewing gum until an appointment is scheduled, while others will arrange to see patients quickly and fit a temporary filling to cover the cavity.

Following this, injured parties can arrange to have a permanent filling attached at their own leisure.

Knocked out teeth:

Many people believe a knocked-out tooth can only be replaced by a false pearly white or denture, but this is simply not the case. While the extra cost often puts people off seeking treatment, a dental professional could be able to return the smile back to its original best.

If patients act quickly, the missing tooth can be placed back in the correct spot and the gum tissue should fuse back around it. Therefore, it is vital for individuals to ensure they pick up the pieces and take it with them, with many dentists suggesting it be kept in a glass of milk in the meantime.

Although it may seem like the easier option to get used to life with a missing tooth, patients should attempt to keep their natural set for as long as possible. This will allow them to maintain a high quality of life and smile confidently.

Those with gaps between these areas may find they have difficulty eating, chewing and talking, while the remaining pearly whites are placed under greater stress, wear and tear so they too can become damaged over time.

Cuts and broken jaws:

A dental emergency does not necessarily have to deal with only teeth and patients who have broken their jawbone or sustained a severe gash in their mouth can also attend a practice to receive treatment.

This type of professional can carry out an initial examination to determine the extent of the issue, as well as cleaning the wound and provide painkillers before referring them to a local hospital.

Patients are urged to try to use common sense when a dental emergency occurs so they can figure out if they require immediate treatment.

What should I do in a dental emergency?

Stabilising an injury should be the first step for those who have sustained a dental injury that requires immediate treatment. It could be something as simple as placing chewing gum into a cavity or placing a lost tooth into a glass of milk, as well as ensuring the right type of painkillers are taken.

Following this, patients should contact their dentist. Local dentists usually make sure they have enough resources and the flexible staffing arrangements needed to accommodate this type of cases, which helps people get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

Many dentists will also have an out-of-hours hotline that can be contacted during the night. Alternatively, patients could contact NHS Direct, which can locate the nearest dental practice so treatment can be found. This platform will also be able to provide advice on any steps that need to be taken to relieve pain or ease their condition.

Whatever happens, individuals should refrain from carrying out DIY dentistry, which could make issues more difficult to resolve.

How can I be more prepared for a dental emergency?

The sudden occurrence of dental trauma or the severe pain of a decaying tooth can make it extremely difficult for patients to consider what course of action to take at that time. This makes it increasingly likely for affected individuals to make bad decisions and not get the treatment they need quickly enough.

Being prepared for such an eventuality could help members of the public avoid panic, while many find it beneficial to create their own first aid kit to keep at home. This would be an ideal spot to keep painkillers, swabs and chewing gum, as well as any important contact numbers.

Ensuring friends and family members are easily accessible should a dental injury occur is also useful.

What else can I do?

A high number of dental emergencies are caused by neglect over a long period of time, allowing decay to attack the pearly whites. Those people who fail to attend regular check-ups may find they do not notice the emergence of cavities until this issue has worsened – often, beyond repair.

For this reason, making sure teeth are well looked after is a must for those hoping to enjoy a healthy, white smile well into the future.