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Posted on: June 15, 2020
When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Fort Lauderdale
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Since there’s a variety of issues that can affect the health of your teeth and gums, it can be difficult for people to determine what constitutes a dental emergency. A common example of an emergency occurs when you have an accident that results in an injury to any part of your mouth, such as a laceration or wound to the cheeks, lips, or tongue. In addition, if severe pain is affecting your ability to sleep or perform everyday activities and is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine, you need to have your mouth examined by an emergency dentist.
If you’re suffering from any of these problems, you’re experiencing a dental emergency in Fort Lauderdale:
- Loose, cracked, or chipped teeth
- A mouth injury with excessive bleeding
- Fever or chills associated with mouth pain
- A knocked-out-tooth
Although the following situations aren’t thought of as an emergency, you can benefit from seeing a dentist who offers walk-in dental services:
- Sudden tooth sensitivity
- Damage to a dental bridge
- Losing a porcelain veneer, crown, or filling
- Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing
Recognize These 7 Signs of a Dental Emergency in Fort Lauderdale
Here are seven common signs indicating that you need emergency treatment from a dentist:
1. A dislodged or broken filling: A broken filling can leave the exposed tooth vulnerable to infection or further damage. The dislodged filling may also have sharp edges that could injure the soft tissues of the mouth, such as the side of your cheek and tongue.
2. Swelling and facial pain: Swelling of the face, neck, and jaws can be caused by a variety of conditions, all of which are serious and require emergency treatment. These include infection, abscess, allergic reaction, inflammation, a fracture, or TMJ dislocation.
3. Uncontrolled bleeding: Whether you suffer a hemorrhage after having a tooth extracted or if you’ve endured an injury to the face and mouth, uncontrolled bleeding is an emergency issue that requires professional treatment immediately.
4. A knocked-out-tooth: As alarming as losing a tooth is, visiting your dentist as soon as possible provides you with the highest chance of successful treatment. According to the American Association of Endodontists, reinserting a knocked-out tooth within an hour has the highest success rate. You may also consider keeping an emergency tooth-preservation product approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) in your first aid kit if you regularly play contact sports.
5. Dry socket pain and infection after extraction: Normally after a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the area and acts as a protective barrier. If the blood clot breaks down or becomes dislodged, the underlying nerves and bone become exposed. When this occurs, it’s called a dry socket, and it can cause intense pain that’s usually not relieved with over-the-counter medication. Between 2%–5% of people can develop a dry socket after having a tooth removed. If you suddenly develop foul breath, experience pain that spreads to the ear and neck, headache, or dizziness, call our office right away.
6. Injury to the gums or other soft tissue: A deep gouge, cut or any injury to the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth require treatment from a dentist as soon as possible. Treatment involves closing the wound and ensuring that the surrounding teeth are undamaged.
7. A fractured jaw: A fractured jaw is an emergency injury that can result in permanent alignment issues or damage to the teeth if not treated quickly after the injury occurs.
Should You Receive Emergency Treatment for a Tooth Abscess?
If a bacterial infection develops in or around a tooth, it’s called an abscess. It’s a potentially life-threatening condition that can spread to the surrounding teeth, bone, and soft tissues. The infection develops when a pocket of pus forms around a tooth’s root or the gum tissue.
Serious complications can develop if a tooth abscess goes untreated. In fact, the mortality rate for mediastinitis, a complication caused by irritation and swelling developing in the mid-chest area between the lungs, is 40%. It’s also possible for sepsis to occur, which is a deadly infection that can spread very quickly throughout the body. Luckily, treatment for a tooth abscess has a high rate of success when diagnosed promptly.
Be aware of these warning signs of a tooth abscess:
- Swelling in the face or cheek
- Throbbing tooth pain
- Pain that spreads to jaw, neck, or ear
- Pain when chewing or biting
To ensure the best possible treatment outcome for a tooth abscess, emergency dental care should be received at the first sign of symptoms. The primary goal of treatment is treating the infection. This typically involves draining the pocket of pus and taking the full course of prescribed antibiotics. Your dentist will perform a root canal in an effort to save the tooth and remove infected pulp from the tooth. If the root canal is unsuccessful, your dentist may need to extract the tooth.
A Cracked Tooth Is an Emergency
Tooth enamel is made of minerals and is extremely durable, although its strength has limits. Receiving a blow to the face, falling down face first, and even chewing on a pencil or fingernails frequently can cause a tooth to chip or break. The first thing you should do if you crack or chip a tooth is stay as calm as possible and call our office right away. You’ll receive advice on the next steps to take during this emergency. Keeping the area clean is very important, so you’ll likely be advised to rinse with warm water to remove any debris.
Determining whether you’re feeling any pain or if the affected area is bleeding are the primary indicators in assessing whether a chipped or broken tooth is an emergency. If you have a minor chip that only affects the enamel and doesn’t cause pain, you can usually wait a few days until you can be seen by your dentist. Taking over-the-counter medications and applying a cold compress to your cheek can relieve minor swelling or discomfort. However, cracked or broken teeth that cause pain or blood loss should be taken seriously and require immediate attention.
If you regularly grind your teeth (bruxism) or frequently play contact sports, wearing a mouthguard is an effective way to protect your teeth from an emergency that causes injury or damage. These appliances can be custom fit to the shape of your teeth, preventing traumatic mouth injuries.
A dental emergency can mean much more than a toothache. This is why it’s so important to be aware of the many different signs that require immediate emergency services. Whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, our caring and compassionate team is here to help you with a dental emergency in Fort Lauderdale that just can’t wait.