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Types of Dental Emergencies You Should Never Ignore

young adult man smiling in the dental chair as the dentist uses tools to examine his mouth

young adult man smiling in the dental chair as the dentist uses tools to examine his mouth

Pushing aside a serious dental issue is never recommended and can result in permanent damage if it’s not treated soon enough. A dental emergency requires the swift attention of our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists to ensure your teeth and gums do not worsen beyond simple treatment.

Here are a few of the most common dental emergencies and how to act when faced with one.

What Constitutes an Emergency?

When you’re experiencing dental pain, anything can seem like it qualifies as an emergency. In actuality, a dental emergency describes an instance where there is unexpected severe pain, discomfort, or trauma to the mouth.

Read More5 Ways to Prevent Dental Emergencies

For example, a minor chip on a tooth is not an emergency but a tooth that has become dislodged is as it poses more of a serious risk to your oral health. Injuries to the teeth or gumscan be harmful and you should seek out immediate care when they occur.

Dental emergencies often involve but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding that is uncontrolled and not showing signs of stopping
  • Infection paired with swelling
  • Severe dental pain

1. Knocked Out or Broken Tooth

Whether it happens while you’re playing sports or hanging out at home, it’s usually always unplanned. Knocking out and breaking a tooth both warrant emergency dental treatment and our Grand Rapids emergency dentists are here to alleviate any pain you’re feeling.

The first thing you need to do when you notice that your tooth has fallen out or suffered from a serious break is call our Grand Rapids dental office. We will shift our schedule accordingly to accommodate you as soon as possible. In the meantime, it’s wise to follow these home instructions.

For knocked out teeth:

  • Locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown (top).
  • If it’s dirty, rinse the root off with water but do not scrub or remove any attached tissue.
  • Try to put the tooth back in place, if possible. Do not force it back into the socket. If you can’t place it back in, hold it inside your cheek on the way to our office or put it in a glass of milk.
  • Arrive at our dental office within 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked out as they will allow the greatest chance of it being saved.

For broken teeth:

  • Save any pieces of tooth that have broken off and rinse them (as well as your mouth) with warm water.
  • Apply a piece of gauze to the area if there is bleeding.
  • For swelling, place a cold compress to the outside of your mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken tooth.
  • See one of our emergency dentists as soon as possible.

2. Severe Toothache

The throbbing, nagging pain of a toothache is never fun. It’s also never something you should ignore especially when it’s interfering with your ability to eat or sleep comfortably. Tooth pain is often a sign that something is wrong and should be taken seriously.

If you’re dealing with extended or severe tooth pain, please call our emergency dentists. We can help get you the relief you need and treat the underlying issue. Until you’re able to see us, try a few remedies at home.

For an intense toothache:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water and use floss to try and remove any stuck food/debris.
  • To help with swelling, place a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek.
  • Do not put painkillers directly against the gums near the tooth as it could cause gum tissue burns.
  • See one of our emergency dentists as soon as possible.

3. Dental Abscess

Damaging to tissue and surrounding teeth, dental abscesses are infections that happen around the root of a tooth. They can also occur in the space between teeth and gums. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and be life-threatening.

Our dentists may recommend root canal therapy to treat the abscess and save the tooth. If the tooth is beyond repair, it may unfortunately have to be extracted. To ease pain and draw pus towards the surface, gently rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution. Be sure to then see our dentists as soon as you can.

4. Bleeding Gums 

Healthy gums do not bleed excessively so if you notice your gums bleeding and aching you could have some form of periodontal disease. However, if you recently injured your gums, the likelihood that you have gum disease is not as high.

Regardless of the true cause, if your gums are bleeding try:

  • Using a mild saltwater solution to rinse your mouth with.
  • Applying pressure to the area with a moist piece of gauze or tea bag. Do this for 15-20 minutes.
  • Holding a cold compress against the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Seeing one of our emergency dentists or a nearby emergency room if bleeding does not seem to be stopping. Keep applying pressure on the bleeding site until you are treated.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Are you in pain because of trauma or a recent injury to the mouth? Our emergency dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, urge you to visit our dental office as soon as you are able. We can provide the necessary treatment you need to make you smile again. Call Contemporary Family Dental at (616) 209-3969 today for urgent matters or schedule an appointment online when you’ve got more time to spare.

This blog post has been updated.