Up to 20% of Americans are afraid of going to the dentist. Dentist visits can seem stressful, but regular checkups are an important part of your oral hygiene. In addition to basic care, dentists can address dental emergencies.
You might be thinking, “What qualifies as a dental emergency?” The answer to that is a bit complicated; there are many types of dental emergencies that you might find yourself dealing with.
Anything from a minor toothache to an oral abscess can qualify as a dental emergency. Keep reading to learn about five of the most common dental emergencies that dentists handle every day.
Perhaps the most common dental emergency is a toothache. Most people have had a toothache at some point in their lives; it often takes the form of throbbing pain in one or more teeth.
Finding a dentist is the first step in dealing with toothache. Toothaches can indicate several possible issues: you could be suffering from gum disease, a cavity, or something else entirely.
- Broken Teeth
Chipped, cracked, or otherwise broken teeth qualify as dental emergencies. Usually, when you crack a tooth, it will be very painful–you’ll know right away that you need to go to the dentist.
Sometimes, though, you won’t feel any pain from a chipped tooth. That doesn’t mean you should stay home–a broken tooth needs treatment regardless of how it feels. Otherwise, it will continue to get worse.
- Loose Teeth
Sustaining a blow to the jaw might knock some of your teeth loose (or even knock the tooth out completely). If you notice a loose tooth, it’s time to make an emergency dentist visit.
If a tooth is knocked out, pick it up by the crown and place it in a small cup of milk. This will help preserve the tooth until you can reach the dentist.
A dental abscess usually takes the form of a painful, swollen spot on your gums. Abscesses are a type of infection, and if left untreated, they can spread to your teeth and the rest of your body.
Check for an abscess if you notice tooth sensitivity or painful chewing. Visit your dentist right away if you find one–the sooner you get it treated, the less likely it is to spread.
- Soft Tissue Injuries
There’s a lot of soft tissue in and around your mouth: your lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue are all easy to damage. While you don’t need to go to the dentist every time you bite your tongue, serious injuries should be treated by professionals.
An emergency dentist can treat most cuts and puncture wounds. Depending on the extent of the injury, an emergency room visit may be necessary.
Understanding the Types of Dental Emergencies
Once you understand the types of dental emergencies, you can make better decisions about your oral health. Read this list again and ask yourself, “Do I have a dental emergency?” If the answer is yes, call your dentist!
Dental health is only one aspect of your overall wellness. You also need to consider your diet, fitness routine, and more. Visit our health blog to find articles about improving your mental health, eating habits, and more!