Broken bones and burns to fainting and high fevers — these are all hard-to-miss signs that it’s time for a trip to the emergency room. But when it comes to dental emergencies, you might be more tempted to write them off and deal with them yourself.
After all, isn’t a toothache a normal part of life? While toothaches are common, if you don’t recognize when you're in the middle of a dental emergency, you risk permanent damage.
We’ve seen it all here at Southern California General & Cosmetic Dentistry, so we know exactly what you’re up against. In this blog, Dr. Ryan Fait and our team, located in Long Beach and Avalon, California, give you an inside look into just some of the warning signs you need to get emergency help for your dental problem.
1. You lost a tooth
A knocked-out tooth is one of the most obvious dental emergencies. You can’t go very long with a gap in your smile for several reasons.
First, without a tooth to protect them, tender nerves and blood vessels are exposed. Second, even if you think the hole will gradually heal on its own, a missing tooth allows your surrounding teeth to shift over time — wreaking havoc on your oral health.
So, if the worst happens and you find yourself short a tooth, here’s what you should do:
- Rinse your tooth with warm water, careful not to touch the root
- Place the tooth back in its socket, in your cheek, or in a cup of milk or saliva
- Head to our office as soon as possible
When it comes to a knocked-out tooth, you must act quickly. Following these steps is the best way to save your tooth.
2. You have pain that won’t go away
It’s normal to experience a bit of pain if you bite down awkwardly or bump your mouth accidentally. But pain that sticks around longer than a day or so is definitely cause for concern. Take note of when the pain began and mention anything that exacerbates it or seems to make it better.
3. Your teeth are extremely sensitive
Sudden and severe tooth sensitivity is another warning sign of a dental emergency. It usually happens when you lose a filling or crown, but can also indicate a cavity, exposed tooth roots, a chip or crack, worn enamel, or gum disease. You may notice a slight shock-like sensation when you eat or drink something hot or cold. Small amounts of pressure can cause discomfort, as well.
4. You notice a crack or chip
Cracks and chips may seem like no big deal. Unfortunately, they’re open doors, allowing bacteria to gather, fester, and multiply. It can also increase your risk of gum disease. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
We urge you to check your teeth regularly for signs of chips and cracks and report to us as soon as you notice them.
How we handle a dental emergency
When a dental emergency happens, the dentist you choose matters. You need an expert who is cool under pressure and has years of experience addressing all sorts of dental crises.
When you arrive at our office, we carefully evaluate the situation and act quickly to remedy the situation. Depending on the issue, we may recommend the following treatments and services:
- Replace and repair crowns, fillings, and bridges
- Oral surgery
- Root canal
- Dental implants for missing teeth
Our comprehensive services help us save your teeth and promote optimal oral health. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff at either our Avalon or Long Beach, California, offices.