Dental emergencies happen, even in the middle of a global pandemic and quarantine. It’s important to know what constitutes a dental emergency and what you should do if you or a loved one experiences one. At Rockland Dental Specialists, our periodontists are experts at diagnosing and treating dental emergencies.
Four Signs of a Dental Emergency
An emergency requires urgent recognition and care. Knowing what to look for and how to act will save you valuable time in the event of an urgent dental problem. Please use this information to educate yourself so that you are ready in the event you or a loved one experiences a dental emergency.
Swelling of the Cheek, Jaw and/or Neck
Multiple dental problems can progress into life-threatening infections. When someone develops a tooth or gum infection that begins to spread, there will be swelling. It is important to recognize swelling as coming from the dental infection and call our office immediately.
The spread of dental infections can be life threatening because the bacteria can spread into the brain or bloodstream, or the swelling can block the airway. The sooner you intervene and receive treatment in the case of a dental infection, the less likely you are to experience dangerous consequences.
Severe Pain from a Broken Tooth
Interestingly, pain is not always the best indication of a dental emergency. We are typically far more concerned about swellings because of the danger they pose. However, we understand that severe pain is an intolerable situation, and we are here to help.
As most dental problems leading to severe pain are the result of infections, urgent dental care will likely involve prescription of antibiotic medication and interventional treatment to stop the spread of infection and relieve pain. When a tooth is broken beyond repair, an emergency extraction can provide almost immediate relief.
An Injury to the Face that Moves and Loosens Teeth
When people are in car accidents or suffer trauma from falls, physical conflicts or sports injuries, it is common for the injury to affect the tissues surrounding the teeth. If you suffer an injury to the face and notice that a tooth or multiple teeth are loose, you should see a periodontist as soon as possible. You should also call our office immediately if the injury moves a tooth or teeth into a different position. Closely evaluate your teeth in the mirror and with your tongue and lips. Does it feel like something is different? Can you see that the tooth is leaning at a different angle?
In urgent cases like this, it is essential that you see a dental professional for repositioning and stabilization of the teeth as soon as possible. Waiting too long to seek dental care can make simple repositioning impossible and require extensive dental treatment to restore your smile.
An Injury to the Face that Knocks a Tooth out
If an injury knocks an entire tooth out, this requires immediate treatment. Make sure you find the tooth, keep it in a safe place, and call our office immediately. This type of situation is extremely time sensitive. The longer it takes to get the tooth back into the socket, the lower the long-term success of the reimplantation. At Rockland Dental Specialists, we can immediately reimplant and stabilize knocked out teeth to provide the best chance of keeping the tooth in the end.
How a Periodontist Can Help
Periodontists are experts in the tissues surrounding the teeth. This means they provide the highest quality care in maintaining the health of these tissues, treating dangerous infections and injuries, and replacing teeth when necessary.
Drainage of Dangerous Dental Infections
In cases of dental abscess that spread into the surrounding bone and gums, your periodontist is able to perform a procedure called incision and draining or I&D. This is a method of relieving pressure from the buildup of infectious material underneath the gums. It also relieves severe pain from large swellings.
Extraction of Teeth
When a tooth suffers from a dangerous infection and has a poor chance of successfully being restored to normal health and function, the best option is extraction of that tooth. A periodontist can remove the infected tooth in a way that preserves the health of the surrounding bone and gum tissue and gives the best chance for successful replacement of the tooth with a dental implant.
Prescription of Medication
As many dental emergencies are the result of dangerous infections, the prescription of the correct antibiotic medication is essential to the healing process. As periodontists successfully treat a wide range of dental infections, they understand well which medications are best for which dental problems. As surgeons, they also know how to help patients manage pain.
Splinting Unstable Injured Teeth
In the cases of emergencies #3 and 4 listed in the previous section, stabilization of the injured teeth is essential to keeping those teeth for long-term function. We often use various types of splints to hold teeth in a certain position. This allows the surrounding bone and gum tissue to remodel and heal to the appropriate position over time without further injury.
More Questions about Dental Emergencies?
Call Rockland Dental Specialists if you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from a dental emergency. We will advise you whether an urgent dental visit with treatment is necessary.