The most common dental emergency in the US is a chipped tooth. While it may not seem like a dental emergency, you should still seek out a dentist as soon as possible because your condition might get worse over time. If a tooth has already had extensive restoration, such as a filling, the chances are higher of it getting damaged, especially when biting down on hard foods. It can also get chipped because you’re grinding your teeth, which is a condition called bruxism. A chipped tooth that has been left untreated for too long can result in an infection of the nerve and pulp of your tooth. A root canal treatment will be needed in case of a serious infection. If a tooth has been chipped, there are chances of it breaking, because it is already weakened.
Broken or Fractured Tooth
One of the most common types of dental emergencies is a broken tooth. A broken tooth can result from a number of reasons including: cracks or chips from biting down on a hard object, severe facial impact from an accident, sports injury, a fall, dental decay that has weakened the tooth over time, or a dental filling that has weakened the tooth structure around it. The severity of the break will vary from minor cracks, to a tooth that has been broken down to the root, causing severe pain. If you are experiencing the latter, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water, and cover the tooth with gauze to help stop any bleeding. Next, place an ice pack on your mouth or face if there was an impact that caused the break, and call a dentist immediately. If you do not have a dentist, call us to get connected to an emergency dentist near you 24/7.
If a child with baby teeth has a loose tooth, it is perfectly normal. However, if an adult’s tooth is loose, it's a different story and can mean several things. One of them is trauma to the tooth structure caused over time by grinding or clenching your teeth too much. Another common reason for your tooth becoming loose is due to gum disease, where the bacterial plaque causes an infection that weakens gum attachment to the teeth. This can occur if your dental hygiene habits are poor. Some symptoms of gum disease are bleeding or sore gums, pus around the tooth, gum recession, bleeding during brushing your teeth, or your gums becoming red or purple. Besides practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy and exercising can boost your immune system, which will in turn protect you from this condition.
Knocked Out Tooth
Whether it's due to a contact sport injury or any type of accident, a knocked out tooth is very serious. In case your tooth gets knocked out, pick it up by the crown or the head. Don’t touch the root if you want to have the best chance of getting it placed back into its socket by a dentist. After picking it up, carefully rinse it with water, but don’t scrub it or use soap to clean it. The tooth should be kept moist so try to put it back into its socket and bite down gently until you get to an emergency dentist. If you can’t put it back in, put it in a milk filled container, not water. Immediately see an emergency dentist near you because waiting longer than 30 minutes will decrease chances of the dentist saving it. If you can’t find an endodontist, who specializes in saving teeth, call us as soon as possible to locate one near you and we'll take care of scheduling your appointment.
Lost or Broken Filling
Fillings fall out in most cases because there is decay under them, and they cause the tooth to change shape, making the filling not fit the tooth anymore. One of the most important things to do when your filling falls out is for you not to swallow or bite down on it. In case it’s an amalgam, composite or glass ionomer filling, which is most of fillings these days, you can throw it away. If you haven’t swallowed it and it’s a ceramic inlay or gold filling, the dentist can put it back in its original place. If your tooth becomes sensitive to pressure, or hot or cold temperature after losing a filling, it is very likely that your dentil tubules have been exposed. They are the connection to the pulp of your tooth. You should try to avoid chewing with the side of the mouth where the dentils are exposed, and see a dentist to cover them with a new filling. If you don’t see a dentist immediately, make sure you clean your tooth very well because harmful bacteria can accumulate and harm your tooth even more.
Chipped or Broken Crown
A chipped or broken crown is not an uncommon occurrence, and should be addressed immediately in order to prevent additional complications from taking root. A crown is a protective overlay that is placed on top of a tooth, and without the protection of the crown, a tooth is susceptible to further decay and damage. You may also experience moderate discomfort and sensitivity in the event that your crown has been severely damaged or completely fallen off. If your crown is chipped or broken, rinse your mouth with warm water, and don’t eat on that side of the mouth until you go to the dentist, just in case something gets lodged there. Chips on crowns made of porcelain can in many cases be repaired using composite resin, thereby saving you the cost of having a new crown made. However, if the chip or crack on the crown is severe enough, your dentist will need to have a new crown made in order to prevent further damage to your tooth due to lack of protection from the damaged crown.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
An impacted wisdom tooth is one that grows in at an awkward angle or doesn’t have enough room to emerge. Over 60% of wisdom teeth are impacted, so don’t worry if it happens to you. You might not even realize you have impacted wisdom teeth until your gums start to swell or hurt. Some other symptoms are jaw pain, difficulty opening your mouth, bad breath, and bleeding gums. If not treated, wisdom teeth that are impacted can cause pain, gum infection, or damage to other teeth because it’s pushing them too much. Wisdom teeth have the highest risk of tooth decay due to them being the last tooth in your mouth, or only partially erupted. Food and bacteria can easily get stuck between the tooth and the gums, possibly leading to an infection. You will most likely need to visit an oral surgeon to remove the impacted tooth.