Sensing that you have a cavity, or even a mild toothache, aren’t experiences you want to endure, but these problems are nothing compared with an urgent dental emergency.
Sudden, severe tooth injury is something that no one thinks is going to happen to them — or their child — until it does!
At Modern Age Dentistry, Dr. Ali Saeghi and his caring team count emergency dental treatment as part of their expansive menu of services. They know that dental emergencies often happen at the most inopportune times, and are ready to treat you at their offices in Los Angeles, West Hills, and Ojai, California.
How to differentiate a dental problem that can wait from a true dental emergency
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you should seek immediate dental care, or if the problem can wait. This is good news: If you injure a tooth, there can be a lot of blood — but that doesn’t always reflect your injury’s severity, simply because your head holds a lot of blood vessels.
Here’s a list we’ve compiled of common dental injuries for which you should seek immediate care:
1. Knocked-out tooth
A sports injury or a fall might cause you to lose a tooth entirely. If this happens, take measures to preserve your tooth within 30 to 60 minutes of the injury, which will give you the best chances of saving it so it can be replanted into your mouth.
To preserve the tooth, don’t touch it near the root, only the crown (the portion of your tooth that chews your food). Gently rinse the tooth with water, but avoid using soap or wrapping it in anything.
Place the tooth back in the socket and gently hold it in place with your mouth. It’s critical to keep it moist, and if it can’t be put back in your mouth, place it in milk.
Taking these steps gives you the highest chance of being able to live with your knocked-out tooth again. You can buy tooth preservation kits to keep in your car or at home.
2. A tooth intrusion
This injury is usually the result of an accident that pushes your tooth deep into your gum.
An intrusion is the most serious type of tooth displacement, since 96% of these injuries result in pulpal necrosis.This is when the pulp inside your tooth, which contains blood vessels and nerves, actually dies. Unfortunately, the condition is irreversible, but your dentist can surgically reposition your tooth.
3. Tooth abscess
An abscess is a pus-filled area that develops around an infected tooth’s root. If it’s left untreated, the infection may grow outside of your jaw and shift to other parts of your body.
Treatment is a must, and Dr. Saeghi might prescribe antibiotics, perform a root canal procedure or an extraction, or he might first have to drain the abscess of the pus surgically before doing any other treatment.
4. Unexplained, severe toothache
Persistent, severe tooth pain is one of the most hard-to-tolerate types of pain. It’s much more than a distraction and can prevent you from sleeping — or thinking about anything else. You might also experience swelling and notice a bad taste in your mouth. Infections cause fever as well.
The cause of this type of toothache is often either infection or injury of the nerve-filled pulp inside your teeth. Toothache causes include decay, gum infection, an abscess, a broken tooth, and tooth grinding.
5. A cracked or fractured tooth
These injuries usually mean that the interior of your tooth is damaged, and that puts you at risk for pulp necrosis.
Treatments include a root canal if your dentist finds damaged tooth pulp, but if your pulp isn’t affected, a crown might be the solution. Your dentist typically needs an X-ray to definitively determine the extent of the damage.
6. A lost filling
Even fillings have finite lifespans. If one falls out, pain often follows. Try to get to our office sooner rather than later.
Treatment might be a new replacement filling, but if you have a deep cavity, a root canal or crown might be called for. It’s important to get prompt treatment too, because living with the missing filling for an extended period may put you at risk for decay and tooth loss.
Sometimes injured teeth become discolored. We offer whitening options that solve this issue.
Now that you understand better what a dental emergency is, rest assured that Dr. Saeghi and the Modern Age Dentistry team pay close attention to our emergency calls. We want to restore your comfort as soon as possible and perform any restorative work promptly.
Call the Modern Age office that’s most convenient to you to access emergency treatment. We’re here for you and keep appointments open consistently, in order to accommodate dental emergencies. Our therapy dog, Princess, is always here to help soothe you as well!