After a dental injury, it can be difficult to distinguish between when a visit to an emergency dentist is needed and when the evaluation can wait until regular dental office hours. Although teeth are naturally durable and strong, it is possible to damage them during an accident or if unusual biting pressure is applied. Cracks in the tooth can vary from mildly symptomatic to very painful, so when one occurs a visit to the dentist for analysis is recommended.
Visiting the emergency dentist for tooth damage
Cracking a tooth can be painful, and if left untreated the injury can lead to further damage. Since each individual's oral health is different, a visit to the dentist is needed to evaluate the damage and make a treatment plan. When a tooth cracks at a time when it is difficult to visit a standard dentist, an emergency dental visit may be necessary.
How to handle a cracked tooth dental emergency
Before visiting the emergency dentist, there are a few ways to prepare at home immediately after the crack occurs. A crack in a tooth can introduce bacteria from the mouth into the pulp and inner tissues, leading to an infection. When a crack occurs, using lukewarm water to rinse the mouth can help keep the area clean until it can be properly disinfected. If the area is bleeding, use gauze to apply pressure until the visit. If the bleeding is excessive, there may be damage to the surrounding structure of the mouth, which may indicate a medical emergency requiring a visit to an ER rather than a dentist.
How an emergency dentist handles a cracked tooth
Call an emergency dentist for helpful information about how to treat the symptoms of a cracked tooth. Patients may be directed to apply a cold pack to reduce swelling, pain, and bleeding. Over-the-counter pain medication is another option for pain and inflammation before the dental visit. Once the patient arrives at the emergency dental practice, the dentist performs an examination to determine the extent of the damage and make a recommendation for additional treatment.
For more simple cracks, a dental composite material is used to seal the area of damage to repair it. A dental veneer may be used to cover the surface of the tooth if it is in a highly visible area. For more complicated cracks, a crown may be used to cover the tooth entirely. If a tooth was previously damaged or if there are signs of infection that need to be addressed, more extensive work over multiple appointments may be necessary.
Although not all dental injuries require a trip to the emergency dentist, a cracked tooth usually calls for immediate assessment and treatment. If the cracked tooth is painful or bleeding, it may need repair that cannot wait until regular dental office hours. Whenever a tooth becomes cracked, either due to an injury or biting down on a hard surface, it is important to contact an emergency dentist for direction to reduce the risk of further damage or infection.
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