No one likes to think about the worst case scenario. We all like to believe that we’re going to make it through life fairly easily, without any major accidents or injuries. However, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what can happen so that you know what to do. Dental emergencies are not too common, but they do happen. It’s so important to be able to identify a real emergency so you know where to go and who to call.
Dental Emergencies by the Numbers
According to the American Dental Association, dental-related emergency room visits have increased. In fact, they estimate that 1.65 million visits could have been handled by a dental clinic, saving the healthcare system and patients over a billion dollars.
We are proud to offer emergency dental services in Orland Park so that our patients don’t have to head to the emergency room for treatment. We make every effort to see you within 24 hours of contacting us to address your issue. Here are the four most common dental emergencies that we see at Inspire Dental Wellness:
Broken or Chipped Teeth
A broken or chipped tooth is VERY painful. This is a situation where you would want to call your dentist and get seen as soon as possible. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth with warm water. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling. Wrap the broken tooth in gauze or a clean cloth and bring it with you.
To manage the pain, you may take over-the-counter pain relievers, but do not take anything that hasn’t been prescribed and don’t take more than the recommended dose.
If your chip or crack is very small, this may not be considered a dental emergency. Craze lines and small knicks can often wait until your next check-up.
Lost Crowns or Fillings
This is also very common. Try to keep the crown or filling if you still have it. Sometimes, people will accidentally swallow it. If you did, don’t panic. It’s not the best thing that could happen, but in most cases, you’ll just pass it and there will be no complications.
However, your exposed tooth is going to be extremely sensitive. It’s important to call for an emergency appointment right away so we can place a new crown or filling. In the meantime, please avoid chewing on that side of your mouth. Feel free to take over-the-counter pain reliever to manage any pain you have.
Severe Tooth or Gum Pain
Hopefully, you’ll never have a toothache in your life, but if you do, you know it’s not fun. Toothaches can be caused by many different things. The best thing to do is to rinse with warm water, then floss (gently) around the area where you feel pain. It may be that something is lodged in your tooth or gum, and that’s what is causing the pain.
If that doesn’t work, call your dentist and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible, especially if you have severe swelling. This could be a sign that you have an abscessed tooth, which could lead to a potentially serious infection.
Braces are pretty complicated and they have a lot of tiny parts and pieces. Sometimes, these parts can break and depending on how bad it is, this can present a safety issue. If you have a broken bracket or wires that is poking you and causing pain, try to bend it so that it’s out of the way, or cover it with orthodontic wax until we can take a look at it.
If you can’t get in immediately, you will have to eat soft foods so that the braces don’t break further. Rinse with warm salt water often and feel free to take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce any discomfort you’re experiencing.
Don’t forget, we’re here for you in case a dental emergency arises. In many cases, if you wait too long to address an issue like the ones we described above, they can become much worse. It’s also important to remember that the emergency room often isn’t the best place to go in a dental emergency. They just aren’t trained to be able to effectively treat most dental issues. If you can manage, it’s better to make that emergency appointment, even if it means waiting until the morning.