What can be considered a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is an issue involving the teeth and supporting tissues that is of high importance to be treated by the relevant professional.
The following constitute dental emergencies:
Potentially life-threatening conditions like:
Uncontrolled bleeding – uncontrolled bleeding may arise after a tooth extraction or after an implant surgery. Post operative bleeding constitutes the most common complication and if not arrested immediately could potentially be life threatening. Incase bleeding goes on for more than five minutes after a procedure. Inform us immediately of the situation. Also there are some people who have conditions that are associated with uncontrolled bleeding or take drugs that may suppress blood clotting ,make sure you inform us before any dental procedure. With this knowledge we are able to take necessary precautions to prevent uncontrolled bleeding.
Cellulitis – this can be defined as a condition caused by bacterial infection under your skin and thus the skin looks swollen, red and painful. This can have many causes, the commonest being dental infections. Incase you have a tooth that has decay and left untreated for long it carries the potential to spread this infection beyond the tooth and the bone to the space between the muscles and skin. This is dangerous because the swelling may potentially worsen and obstruct the airways thus death by suffocation.
Trauma – injuries that lead to fracturing of the bones of the face are dangerous for various reasons. The two most common being there are numerous blood vessels in the facial region and there’s the potential to injure them leading to a lot of bleeding. Another reason is some facial fractures may lead to the obstruction of the airway.
Conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and reduce risk of infections.
Severe dental pain from pulpal pain from pulpal inflammation – inflammation of the pulp (the innermost layer of the tooth) is the commonest cause of toothaches. They are usually so bad that they may lead to sleepless nights and thus need immediate attention. They do not usually respond to normal painkillers and so we usually begin the root canal treatment process and then put you on painkillers for relief. Click here to learn more about root canal treatment. Incase you have a toothache, do not hesitate to call us and book an appointment.
Pericoronitis – this is dental pain associated with the third molars. Sometimes the third molar may not come into the mouth fully and hence there is a portion of the gum that covers the tooth. Food may pack in the space between the tooth and gums, thus causing the area to be very painful. It has two treatment options either operculectomy which basically is cutting off that portion of the gum hence eliminating the area where the food packs. Another option usually is the extraction of the wisdom tooth.
Dry socket – immediately after extraction of a tooth you are given a set of instructions to follow so as to ensure a good blood clot forms in the area where the tooth was extracted. Failure to adhere to these instructions leads to the loss of the blood clot and food and bacteria also pack in these areas and it is usually very painful. In case you feel a lot of pain that is increasing days after a tooth extraction it could be a dry socket. It is usually treated by cleaning the area with antiseptic solutions and thorough scraping off of the dead infected tissues allowing a new clot to form. Click here to learn more about taking care of an area where a tooth has been extracted.
Abscess – when a dental infection spreads to the tooth supporting structures, usually the gum or bone, it may be localized there and may cause pain and swelling. This further emphasizes the importance of seeking dental treatment early incase of a decayed tooth. We treat them usually with either a tooth extraction, deep cleaning or a root canal treatment followed by being put on antibiotics. Remember prevention is better than cure, book a checkup with us.
Tooth fracture – when a tooth fracture involves the innermost layer of the tooth it is usually very painful and hence it has to be dealt with immediately. We treat it by doing a root canal treatment to eliminate the pain. Click here to learn more about root canal treatment.
Other situations necessitating urgent dental care
A dental restoration or a prosthesis causing pain – Sometimes defects on tooth restorations or prosthesis like dentures or pointing wires after orthodontic treatment may lead to a lot of pain and if they are not dealt with immediately lead to further injuries. Incase of such an event do not hesitate to visit us and have that fixed.
Falling off of temporary filling materials in between root canal treatment visits – this carries the risk of allowing bacteria getting into the canals of the roots infecting it, thus interfering with the treatment. Incase this happens inform us immediately and get it disinfected and redone.
Falling off of a bracket in the course of the orthodontic treatment – this often interferes with the orthodontic treatment and depending with the position may lead to hanging wires which may pierce the tissues around the tooth injuring them