You’ve probably experienced some form of minor dental trauma at some point in your life, such as accidentally biting your tongue or scraping your gums with your toothbrush. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal and can heal on its own.
Dental emergencies, on the other hand, are injuries or trauma to your mouth that require immediate dental assistance. If left untreated, these dental issues can cause serious problems with your health. This may range from permanently missing teeth to jaw pain to bacterial infections.
So when something goes awry in your mouth, how do you know if you’re experiencing a true dental emergency? Here at Modern Age Dentistry, we want our patients to know what to do, so Dr. Saeghi recommends you begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Have I experienced facial or dental trauma?
- Do I have any loose, chipped, or missing teeth?
- Do I have immense tooth or jaw pain?
- Do I have any swelling in my face, jaw, or mouth?
- Do I have any bleeding from my mouth?
- Am I having trouble talking, breathing, chewing, or swallowing?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to give us a call.
Dental emergencies can often be avoided by taking care of your mouth and teeth. This includes proper hygiene, avoiding hard sweets and tough foods, and wearing face protection and a mouthguard when playing contact sports. Sometimes, however, accidents can occur even when we think we’re being safe.
Common dental emergencies include:
- Knocked out teeth - If appropriate steps are taken straight away, chances are much higher that the tooth can be saved.
- Loose teeth - Misaligned teeth can cause pain and cosmetic distress. Loose teeth may require splinting to realign them and keep them from moving.
- Chipped teeth with pain or bleeding - If there is no pain, it’s typically not a dental emergency. Either way, seeing us as soon as possible can help to deter further damage or tooth loss.
- Tissue injury, swelling, and facial pain - Your mouth is a haven for bacteria, so having open wounds can be serious. Small cuts should heal by themselves, but for large chunks of missing tissue, excessive pain, or swollen areas, you should see us immediately.
- Infections and abscesses - These can literally be life or death situations. If you think you may have a dental infection or abscess, contact us immediately for an emergency appointment. Infections can spread from the main point, a tooth for instance, and end up causing severe infections elsewhere, such as in your blood or heart, if not properly treated.
- Items lodged between teeth and gums - If they can’t be removed with flossing or brushing, items may need to be removed during an emergency cleaning. Food left in between gums and teeth may break down and cause infections.
If you have a dental problem, try to remain calm and prepared for your visit, rather than panicking. We recommend keeping a small dental emergency kit handy at all times, whether at home or out on adventures. Your kit should include:
- A small container with a lid
- Pain-relief medication that doesn’t contain Aspirin or Ibuprofen
- Our contact information
Consider this kit as insurance. Should a dental emergency ever arise, you’ll be ready for the occasion. If you meet the above criteria and are experiencing a dental emergency, contact us immediately at any of our locations in the West Hills, Los Angeles, or Ojai areas. We leave room in our schedule to accommodate emergency situations so that when you need us, we can fit you in.