We only get one set of adult teeth so looking after them is essential for a beautiful smile. Toothache and abscesses can be extremely painful, so understanding the cause of your toothache means you can get the correct treatment. Below are four of the most common dental emergencies and what you can do at home while waiting for an emergency dental appointment.
Broken Dental Crown
Dental crowns can last a lifetime but, unfortunately, they can become chipped or broken. A dental crown is used to fill in a tooth that is broken or damaged and these can be put in at any age. The dental crown prevents any further damage to the tooth, so if your dental crown comes out, you could be exposing a fragile piece of tooth. There are many forms of dental crowns and some are more likely to chip than others. Metal crowns are very strong, but many prefer other forms of dental crown due to the fact that the metal color does not blend in with the teeth.
It may be that you have a temporary dental crown, and these are usually formed of resin. These are not meant to stand the test of time so if you are waiting for a crown and your temporary one breaks, speak to your dentist immediately. Crowns can break for many reasons including impact to the face or mouth, grinding teeth, biting down too hard, and normal wear and tear. Depending on the severity of the break will determine how quickly you see a dentist. It is best to see a dentist within a few days of a crown breaking. In the meantime, at home, you can purchase dental cement which will protect the tooth until you get to the dentist.
If your tooth has cracked, split or chipped, you need to seek emergency dental advice. A broken tooth can cause a lot of pain and could prevent you from eating or speaking. If the crack is very minor, it may be that you can wait a while before seeing your dentist, but this depends on the pain you are in. If the pain is unbearable, your tooth needs looking at sooner. If you do eat or drink in the meantime, use over-the-counter pain medications to reduce any pain.
If you have broken your tooth, there are first aid steps that should be taken. Firstly, rinse your mouth with salt water or warm water and apply an icepack or a cold compress on the cheek, near to the broken tooth. You can use gauze to prevent any further bleeding. Bleeding should stop within 10 minutes. It is also advised to take pain medication as breaking a tooth can be very painful!
A dental abscess is usually very painful and is a formation of pus in the gums, inside teeth or in the bone which holds your teeth in place. A dental abscess is due to a bacterial infection and requires antibiotics to treat. Whilst most abscesses are painful, some people experience no pain at all. It is often obvious due to swelling and tenderness in the area as the pus forms. Getting this treated early prevents the spread of infection. If your dental abscess does begin to spread, you may develop a fever and become generally unwell. If this is the case, seek emergency dental care immediately.
As abscesses can be painful, anti-inflammatory medication is recommended to ease some of the discomfort associated with the abscess. When brushing your teeth, it is also recommended to use a soft toothbrush and discontinue flossing near the affected area, as it can be too fragile to do so. Hot and cold foods and drinks often make it worse, so sticking to warm or cool foods is best. Soft foods can also minimize any discomfort or pain whilst eating, so choosing soups is the best option whilst recovering from a dental abscess.
Damage to the root of your tooth can happen for many reasons, including an infection such as a dental abscess. There are many risk factors associated with infection of the teeth, including trauma to the tooth, cracks in the teeth or crowns and severe tooth decay. Damage to your root can be very painful as this is where the nerve endings are. If you are having pain when you eat, drink or breathe cold air, have swelling in the gums or your tooth becomes dark, this is a sign that you need a root canal. Whilst it may not always be an emergency, if you are in a lot of pain and notice facial swelling, you will need an emergency appointment, as these are all signs of an infection, which will only worsen without treatment. A root canal is a procedure which will alleviate pain and remove any infected material that is causing pain.
If the tooth has been damaged too much, it may be that the dentist has to remove the whole tooth when performing a root canal. This treatment can be very painful, so you will be administered with anesthetic into the site around the infected area to prevent any pain during the treatment. If you believe that you are suffering from root damage, you can take pain medication whilst waiting for your dental appointment. It may be that you need to take a combination of pain medications to treat the pain.
If you have severe pain in your teeth or gums, do not hesitate in arranging an emergency dental appointment. Failure to do so could make the problem worse and could leave you with more dental work needing to be done further down the line. This is especially important in the case of an abscess, as this infection can spread quickly, making it more difficult to treat. Never leave a broken tooth or dental crown for longer than a few days, otherwise, you are leaving the tooth exposed, which may cause further damage.