Usually, scheduling a regular dental appointment in advance and waiting to see your dentist is not a problem. In some cases though, you need to see a dentist right away and schedule an emergency dental appointment. But what is a dental emergency? How do you know when you should wait, and when to get help right away?
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
1. Sudden Impact
Sports, household accidents, and a variety of other situations can all cause sudden and intense impacts to your teeth, jaw, and gums. Sometimes, the effects aren’t serious, and you might not notice any damage. However, if your teeth, jaw or gums remain sore and don’t get better, or the pain or bruising worsens, this may be a dental emergency. Your tooth might be cracked, loose, there may be bleeding under the gums, or an infection may have started where the tooth was damaged. Your dentist can correct these issues before they get worse.
2. Loose or Damaged Fillings
If you notice that one of your fillings is loose, or some or all of it has come off the tooth, this is a dental emergency. Your filling is designed to protect your tooth after it’s been damaged by a cavity. If it is loose or missing, the sensitive structures underneath your tooth enamel are vulnerable to bacteria. To prevent an infection or further damage to the tooth, schedule a dental emergency appointment.
3. Loose or Damaged Crowns
A dental crown is used to restore a damaged tooth. Though crowns are made to be sturdy and to attach securely, they can become loose or damaged if the underlying tooth is damaged, if you bite down on a hard object, or if you suffer a blow to the face. If your crown feels loose or damaged, it can expose the remainder of the tooth, and neighboring teeth, to further damage from bacteria. Make an emergency dental appointment right away to repair the crown.
4. Loose or Damaged Permanent Teeth
It’s normal to lose baby teeth, but if you lose a permanent tooth, or your permanent teeth are cracked or damaged, it’s time to make an emergency dental appointment. The sharp or jagged edges of a fragmented tooth can cut your mouth or tongue. Damaged teeth are also exposed to bacteria, which can create cavities or infections.
5. Oral Bleeding
You might bite your tongue or your lip and see a bit of blood. This is normal. However, if your gums are bleeding, you have bleeding sores in your mouth, or you’re bleeding a lot, schedule an emergency dental appointment right away.
6. Gum or Tooth Discoloration
Discoloration around a tooth or in the gums can indicate a dead tooth or a tooth infection. Both of these are serious conditions which should be addressed right away. You might notice a blackish, brownish, or yellowish discoloration around your tooth, or a dark red, blackish or brownish discoloration around your gums. Normally, your teeth should be whitish and your gums should be pink. If you notice odd discoloration, it’s time for an emergency dental appointment.
7. Tooth Pain
A mild toothache might have a temporary or benign cause, and it might go away on its own. Temporary teeth grinding, brushing too hard, a mild impact, sinus infection, or other issues can cause a mild toothache. However, if your tooth pain is distracting, makes it difficult to sleep, or it gets worse over time, it may be a cause of something more serious. Schedule an emergency dental appointment and your dentist can diagnose the problem and treat it before it gets worse.
8. Persistent Bad Breath or Taste
We all can get a bad taste in our mouth from foods we don’t like, and certain foods can give us bad breath. However, if you have a bad taste in your mouth or bad breath that won’t go away, it can be an indication of an infection or another health issue. If you’ve experienced this for a number of days, especially if you also notice discoloration or tooth pain, make an emergency dental appointment.
9. Post-Operative Dental Issues
If you’ve recently had a tooth extraction, root canal, filling, or another dental procedure, pay close attention to how you’re feeling. If you notice excessive bleeding, pain that doesn’t go away or worsens, abnormal swelling, or other issues after your procedure, you should make an emergency dental appointment right away. Pay close attention to your dentist’s instructions after the procedure to avoid these issues, and to know what to look out for.
If you’re wondering what is a dental emergency, and you’re not sure if you should come in or not, call a dental office. Explain what you’re experiencing, and the staff can help you decide. Generally, if you’re not sure, it’s better to be cautious. If you don’t have a serious issue, your dentist will let you know. If you do, your dentist can help before it gets worse. You can schedule an appointment for emergency dental treatment in the Las Vegas area online or call our offices directly.