When you have a dental emergency — whether it's caused by a tooth decay, sudden accident, chronic disease — your teeth and/or the tissues of the mouth that surround them need to receive proper care right away. As with any type of medical emergency, it's important to be aware, before you're actually in the situation, of what you can do to ensure the best outcome. Listed below are some of the common emergency visits we treat in our dental office.
Tooth knocked Out Of Socket Or Displaced
Dental injury or a knocked-out permanent tooth requires quick thinking and immediate action. You'll increase the chances that the tooth can be saved if you pick it up without touching the root, gently clean it off with water, and put it back in its socket facing the correct way. Hold it in place with gentle pressure as you rush to the dental office or emergency room. If you can't replant it immediately, tuck it between the patient's cheek and gum, or carry it in a container of cold milk. During your visit, x-ray is taken and we will determine if we can re-implant the tooth back in the socket. In these cases, if tooth can be re-implanted, the area is anesthetized and tooth will be delivered in its original position. There will also be a splint used which is a tiny wire as well as composite bonding to maintain the position of the tooth within the socket. The splint is usually about a week depending on the circumstances and will eventually be removed. Further treatment will be necessary for a possible root canal to maintain the integrity of the root.
Chipped Front Teeth
Fortunately, other dental injuries that happen most frequently are less severe. The most common traumatic dental injuries are chipped teeth which is commonly due to fall or a trauma to the face. If a tooth is chipped, try to find any pieces that have come off, as it might be possible to reattach them. most frequently, chipped teeth can be restored by bonding within the same emergency visit. If a big portion of the tooth has been chipped, we always recommend a crown or a veneer to strengthen the structure of the tooth. At times, chipped teeth may have the nerve exposed which will cause sensitivity to cold or extreme temperatures. In these cases, we will initiate a root canal procedure to alleviate the pain and complete the procedure with some type of restoration after.
Tooth Decay Or Broken Teeth
Tooth pain is usually the most common type of dental emergency. Severe or persistent tooth pain always signals a need for an urgent visit to the dental office. The most common cause of dental pain is tooth decay, a bacterial infection that can spread through many parts of the tooth, and even into the gum tissue. If it is determined by Dr. Michael Dounel that tooth is restorable, it would indicates that you may need a root canal treatment — a procedure that not only relieves the pain of an infection deep inside the tooth, but also can keep the tooth from having to be removed. Generally, on an emergency appointment, we focus on removing the infection from the pulps and canals of the tooth by removing the nerve and all bacteria. In the first visit, we apply local anesthesia to the area and make sure that you are fully numbed to any sensation you may feel. We use handpiece and files to remove all bacteria and use special gel to disinfect the area as well as all the canals. Once this procedure is completed, then we apply temporary filling to seal the area. You will be also given antibiotics as well as pain medication to make sure you feel comfortable. On a second appointment, we finalize the root canal and place a permanent filling to seal. We eventually, schedule you for another appointment to cover the tooth with a crown or a cap. Other times, the cavity might be too deep and therefore the tooth is not restorable. In these cases, Dr. Dounel recommends extraction of the tooth and eventually a treatment plan to replace the missing tooth with either an implant or a bridge. At times, also it is recommended to have bone graft placed in the area of extraction to preserve integrity of bone and surrounding structures. Once the tooth is extracted, we place bone graft in the socket and place a gel foam on top and eventually suture the area to maintain homeostasis. Almost in most cases, the sutures are resorbable and will dissolve after 7-14 days. At times, pain may also be caused by a loose filling or sensitive tooth. The only way to know for sure what's causing your tooth pain is to make an appointment at the dental office for examination.
Injuries and infections involving the soft tissues of the mouth may also require emergency treatment. The tissues of the gums, tongue, or cheek lining can be damaged by accidental bites, falls, sports injuries, and scalding liquids. They may also suffer injury from foreign bodies that become lodged below the gum line, and they can develop painful and potentially serious abscesses. A periodontal (gum) abscess is a pus-filled sac caused by an infection and is usually quite painful. Abscesses require immediate attention at the dental office.
Any injury to the soft tissues of the mouth should be rinsed with dilute salt water. If there is visible debris, it should be cleared. Bleeding can usually be controlled by pressing a clean, damp material to the area for 10-15 minutes. If this does not work, go to the emergency room immediately.
A foreign body lodged beneath the gum line can sometimes be gently worked out with dental floss or a toothpick. But if this can't be accomplished easily, make a dental appointment so the area does not become damaged and/or infected.
Although there can be discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment, there are only a few true orthodontic emergencies. They include trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth. Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face, and severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas can also be orthodontic emergencies. In any of these situations, seek immediate care from the dental office or emergency room — whichever is your best option. For loose, broken or irritating pieces of orthodontic hardware, please call the dental office for advice.
Are you experiencing a dental emergency? New Smiles Dental in Inglewood, CA offers 24-hour emergency appointments. Call our office at (310) 674-5555 today!