We all know trips to the emergency can be helpful but very expensive. That’s why it’s important to know which tooth injuries constitute as dental emergencies and which can wait for your regular dentist during office hours. Many associate a broken tooth with a dental emergency although it actually depends on the location of the tooth and how much is broken for it to be worth an emergency room trip. Medical emergencies in dental offices can result from sports-related injuries, falls, and other incidents.
Common dental injuries include:
- A knocked out tooth
- A cracked tooth
- A toothache
- A bite through the mouth or lip
All of these can be emergency situations depending on their severity level. For example, if you have a crack in your tooth but it’s small and doesn’t really hurt, then you can probably wait to go to the Dentist. But if you’ve cracked a significant portion of your tooth and it’s aching, then going to the emergency room would be vital to your health.
So how do you know if your injury is an emergency case? Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Am I in severe pain?
- Have I lost any teeth?
- Am I bleeding from the mouth?
- Do I have swelling or bulges on my facial area?
Answering yes to any of these questions is a good indication that you may have an emergency on your hands. The reality is that dental emergencies can happen at any time and the best thing you can do is be prepared and aware. Make sure you always have a small dental kit on hand with your dentist’s information, gauze, and Acetaminophen.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency and aren’t sure what to do, here are some things you can do at home before you go to the emergency room:
- Put any knocked out teeth into a glass of milk until you get to the ER
- Floss around tooth that is in pain
- Use cold compress to reduce swelling
- Use salt and warm water as mouthwash to relieve irritation
- Swish with hydrogen peroxide to eliminate bacteria
Although dental injuries are common, there are ways to prevent yourself from having to go the emergency room. Here are some helpful tips:
- Wear a mouthguard for physical activities
- Do not use your teeth to open things, use scissors
- Avoid chewing things that commonly crack teeth like ice and hard candy
The most common emergencies are caused by tooth decay causing pain. In fact, emergency rooms in the U.S. saw an alarming number of patients for dental pain from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010. Many were suffering from dental decay that could have been prevented, according to the American Dental Association.
With this in mind, always make sure to keep your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing regularly. Stay away from substances that erode teeth like acidic food and drinks. Also make sure to get regular dental checkups to make sure your teeth are in the best shape possible. Your oral health is important to your overall health so make sure to keep those teeth clean!
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