6 Common Dental Emergencies & How to Prevent Them

Want to avoid trips to the emergency room

Dental emergencies are actually a lot more common than you might think, especially in children who are more prone to accidents. That being said, it can be hard to determine the difference between a real dental emergency and an oral health issue that can wait until you are able to book a dental appointment

To make sure that you are making the right choice for your mouth, gums, and teeth, read on to discover the 6 most common problems that require emergency dental care. Plus, how to prevent them! 

  • A knocked-out tooth 
  • One of the most common dental emergencies, a knocked-out tooth typically occurs after an accident or fall. This type of trauma to the mouth requires immediate medical attention, so you should head to the emergency room as soon as possible. It is important that you keep the tooth moist either by placing it in a glass of milk or placing it gently between your teeth and gums. If possible, reinsert the tooth. 

    You may also want to call your dentist to explain what has happened, as they may want to meet you at the ER. In the case of a knocked-out tooth, you should make sure that your doctor or dentist also checks your jaw for any broken bones.

    Prevention tip: Although you cannot prevent accidents or falls from occurring, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of getting a knocked-out tooth, such as wearing protective headwear when playing sports.  

  • Severe pain 
  • If you are experiencing severe dental pain that won't stop and over-the-counter painkillers are not helping, then you should contact your dentist's office. Pain that occurs when you bite down could be the result of a cracked tooth or teeth grinding. However, in some cases, severe pain is caused by an abscess that requires a course of antibiotics to treat. 

    If the pain is so extreme that you cannot carry out your daily activities and you are unable to get a dentist appointment, then go to the emergency room as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can apply a cold compress to the affected area and continue to take painkillers as per the instructions on the medication. 

    Prevention tip: To avoid dental pain, make sure that you practice a good dental hygiene routine that includes daily brushing and flossing. Also, make sure that you schedule routine appointments with your dentist. 

  • An infection 
  • If you suspect that you have an infection in your mouth, then you need to see your dentist or doctor, as these do not go away on their own. There are several reasons why you may get a dental infection, such as after a tooth extraction, as a result of gum disease, or following trauma to the mouth. An infection may cause swelling, redness, and pain, and in some people, you may notice pus seeping from the infected tooth. 

    Once an infection has been diagnosed, you should be prescribed a course of antibiotics that will clear up the infection within 7 days. 

    Prevention tip: Following any dental surgery or treatment, make sure that you adhere to the recommended aftercare practices. Also, maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes daily brushing and flossing. 

  • Bleeding 
  • Bleeding is most commonly caused by gum disease or gingivitis. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious. For example, blood in your saliva may indicate a life-threatening condition such as advanced cancer or very advanced gum disease. 

    If you have had a tooth extracted, then a bit of bleeding is normal but if the bleeding doesn't stop, then you need to see your dentist or a healthcare provider urgently. Rinse your mouth with warm water and salt to see if this helps.  

    Soft tissue injuries can also cause bleeding, but, again, this should only be for a short period of time. 

    Prevention tip: To prevent bleeding gums, make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. You may also want to start using an antibacterial mouthwash. 

  • Abscessed gums 
  • A common dental problem, abscessed gums typically occur when your tooth or your gums are infected. Abscessed gums symptoms include a pimple on your gums that could be yellow, red, clear, or white in color. You are also very likely to experience pain and discomfort if you have an abscess. 

    If you suspect you have a gum abscess, then you need to call your dentist immediately and make an emergency appointment. 

    Prevention tip: Avoid abscessed gums by following the recommended aftercare tips after any dental treatment and by following a consistent oral health regime. 

  • Broken or chipped teeth 
  • A broken or chipped tooth is another very common dental emergency, particularly in children or people who play sports. If you break or chip a tooth, you may not necessarily have to visit your dentist immediately, as neither of these dental problems are life-threatening. However, this will depend on how much of the tooth has been broken. 

    If you have simply chipped the tooth, then all you need to do is schedule an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience. For a larger break and if you are in a lot of pain, then you may want to try and get an emergency appointment. 

    Prevention tip: Always wear protective headwear such as a helmet when cycling, rollerblading, or playing combat sports. When running, make sure you wear the right footwear and be vigilant of any cracks in the pavement or obstacles in your path. 

    Here at bafdentistry, we offer a wide range of premium dental services for you and your family, with competitive pricing and high levels of care. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable members of staff if you have any questions or need more information. 

    Alternatively, give us a call if you have a dental emergency and we will do what we can to help you.