Like many things in life, we can handle chaos with far more composure and calm if we know what to do. Dental emergencies are no different. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency if it arises goes a long way in allowing us to let go of the worry and the ‘what if’ catastrophizing and just enjoy watching our kids play hockey, for example. Here’s what you need to know about common dental emergencies and what to do if one occurs.
Tongue piercings and tongue splitting have been a trend for some time now, and while they appeal to some, it’s important to understand the risks associated with these procedures. Since the tongue is full of blood, it has a tendency to bleed profusely when injured. This is important to note because the amount of blood supply to the tongue also means that infections that occur in the tissues of the tongue could potentially spread if not managed urgently. Blood infections are very serious, and their onset has to be mitigated because the number of bacteria in your mouth combined with an open wound near blood supply and a warm, moist, dark environment could spell disaster.
If you suspect that your tongue might be infected, monitor it closely for changes. Red lines around the
point of insertion on the top or bottom means an emergency trip to the dentist, no questions asked. If
your tongue is swelling and painful, sipping ice water or holding ice chips in the mouth are a good way to
calm the inflammation until you can get in to see your dentist or your doctor, but if there is significant
swelling that threatens to block off your airway, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Infections can be prevented by maintaining a clean oral cavity and eating a diet low in sugar and carbs. The cleaner your mouth is, the better it will feel.
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All services performed by a general dentist.
Signs of Infection
If you have pain in one or more of your teeth, you could be battling an infection. If you have visible cavities in the tooth in question, this likelihood increases. Decay that has progressed to the extent that it has gone beyond the dentin and into the tooth is likely to have bacteria and food debris in it that guarantees the infection’s progress. If this is the case, you may require a root canal to correct this problem.
Don’t worry, your root canal therapy will allow you to feel much better once the nerve is removed from the inner chamber of the tooth. If the infection has progressed to the point that it kills the nerve, you may feel instant relief, but your infection still must be treated urgently. Signs that you are battling an oral infection can include swollen tissues that make opening and closing the mouth difficult and/or painful, a sour taste that you just can’t get rid of, or what looks like a pimple on the gum tissue.
What to Do if You Aren’t Sure
If you are unsure about whether your discomfort is caused by infection, we recommend calling our offices to explain your symptoms and get feedback as to whether your symptoms warrant an emergency visit. If your pain is managed by Tylenol or Advil, your dentist may encourage you to forego the emergency appointment, but to make an appointment to be seen within a few days of the onset of this pain.
MVA & Sports Injuries
Implants can be adapted to suit the particular needs of a patient. While single implants can be installed as needed, they can also be adapted to provide full mouth restorations as seen in all-on-four implants. In this case, implants are installed in the four quadrants of each dental arch and they are used to support a full set of false teeth. All-on-four implants effectively support the bite force needs of the whole jawbone, so you will not have any worries about bone resorption.
What if I’m Travelling or Otherwise Out of the Area?
When you have a dental emergency, we recommend you seek to see a dentist who can see you as soon as possible over waiting for your regular dentist to be able to see you. Once you have been seen and treated, you can book an appointment with your regular dentist to discuss any outstanding concerns or to discuss your options going forward.
What if I’ve Knocked a Tooth Out?
If you have lost a tooth or broken it, follow these steps:
1) Rinse your mouth with clean water and bite down on a piece of gauze to minimize bleeding
2) Find the tooth or tooth fragments and rinse them with clean water
3) Tuck the tooth or tooth fragment deep down in your cheek pocket if it does not easily reinsert, and head to your dentist.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today.
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