Signs and symptoms of a dental emergency
If you have never experienced a dental emergency in the past, you might not be aware of the typical signs and symptoms that would lead you to require treatment; some dental conditions, such as toothache, don’t necessarily make it obvious that you need to see the dentist right away. Most people would probably tell you to head straight to the hospital if you have suffered any type of injury but that might not actually be the best thing to do if you have just damaged your teeth and you are otherwise fine. If your injuries are purely dental in nature, you would certainly be better off going straight to the emergency dental clinic rather than the hospital – doctors are unlikely to have the right skills to help with this kind of problem.
Although you should certainly leave the actual treatment to the professionals, you can improve your chances of a positive outcome by learning a little bit about what sort of condition constitutes a dental emergency. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms that would need to be treated as soon as possible;
What are some typical signs of a dental emergency?
Broken teeth – If you have experienced severe dental trauma that has resulted in broken teeth, you will probably already be aware that you need to get to the clinic in a timely fashion. Broken teeth need to be treated within a couple of hours of the damage occurring, otherwise you are at risk of infection and tooth loss; fortunately, most emergency clinics will be open twenty-four hours a day, so you should not have too much trouble accessing treatment at short notice. However, you should be aware that broken teeth cannot always be saved; if the structure has been too badly damaged and the dentist cannot repair it, the tooth will have to be removed for the good of dental health and the remaining teeth.
Knocked-out teeth – As with broken teeth, you will know that dental treatment is needed if you have knocked-out one or more of your teeth in an accident; if you still have the extruded teeth, you should store them in a cup of milk to try and keep the minerals alive until the dentist can be reached. You could also put it back into the socket to encourage early healing – although that might be too painful if the bone or gums have been badly injured. The tooth needs to be replaced within a couple of hours or it will die and then reattachment will be impossible. If the tooth is lost or it is broken and cannot be repaired, there are restorative options that could help you – such as dental implants or a partial denture – you would need to discuss further treatment with your dentist after initial healing has taken place.
Toothache – You might not first assume that toothache is a dental emergency but it can become extremely painful and debilitating if it is not treated during the early stages; this sort of dental pain is usually related to decay that has exposed the inner pulp to outside elements and possibly infection. It may be tempting to simply take some painkillers and try and ignore the problem but that is not going to get rid of it permanently; in fact, the symptoms are likely to get more aggressive and then you will have no option but to seek treatment anyway. Without the right care during the early stages, toothache can lead to serious infection, tooth loss, and possibly other problems with your general health, such as blood poisoning. Obviously, this is a very gradual process, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs when they first become apparent; dental treatments are likely to be easier, cheaper, and more successful if you speak to your dentist at the first opportunity.
Abscesses/infection – As mentioned in the previous point, infection is something that all medical professionals will strive to avoid because it can be very difficult to control and may become life-threatening further down the line. Dental infections usually come in the form of gum disease that will start off as slight bleeding from the gums when the teeth are brushed; without dental treatment at this point, the problem will progress to the much more painful stage of periodontitis – when the gums start to pull away from the base of the teeth and they become much more inflamed and very sore. This condition will lead to extensive tooth loss if it reaches a more aggressive stage, when abscesses start to develop on the soft tissue at the base of the teeth; you may need surgery and a course of antibiotics to fight the infection and get you back to a decent level of dental health. If you experience further symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, and fever, you should go to the hospital instead of the dental clinic because you may have developed blood poisoning as a result of the infection.
Enamel chips/cracks – This is a good example of a dental emergency that does not have to be extremely dangerous to the teeth or even very painful for the patient; however, enamel chips and other breakages can definitely change the way the teeth look in an instant, which is not something that most people would want to ignore for any great length of time. Simple things like enamel chips should be easily fixable using composite bonding material and possibly porcelain veneers as well, whereas more invasive damage might require a dental crown to protect the tooth from further injury. If you experience dental trauma and your teeth are chipped but otherwise seem to be in a good condition, you should still speak to a dentist and get a check-up because there could be underlying problems that may flare up again at a later date.
If you think you might need to see a dentist about some worrying symptoms, you should speak to someone at the Pearl Dental Clinic; this London surgery has a twenty-four hour emergency service to help if you need treatment at short notice. Get in touch now to arrange an appointment at a time that is suitable for you.