There are many dental conditions that constitute emergencies and require urgent treatment. For optimum results, severe injury to the teeth and gums should be treated immediately. If ignored and left untreated, dental emergency conditions can worsen and result in tooth loss, severe infection, and permanent damage to the anatomy of the mouth.

Examples of dental emergencies

Knocked-out tooth

If an entire tooth is knocked out, it may be possible to restore it if treated immediately. In this case, rinse the mouth and the knocked-out tooth with water. Handle the tooth with care, and refrain from touching the pulp and the nerve root to preserve the tooth. If possible, try to put the tooth back in its place, but if the tooth cannot be replaced manually, set it aside in a small container and seek dental care immediately.

Broken or cracked tooth

A broken or cracked tooth is a dental emergency because of the damage to the inner and outer structure of the tooth. In case of a broken or cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water, and apply a cold compress to reduce inflammation and pain. An X-ray may be required to determine the severity of the fracture and the necessary treatment.

Mouth and gum trauma

Gentle cleaning and cold compresses are helpful in case of a laceration or puncture to the tongue, cheeks, lips, or gums. For bleeding, apply clean gauze to the affected area. Avoid using sharp or pointed objects to remove food stuck between the teeth as these can cause injury to the structures in the mouth.

Abscesses

Abscesses are considered dental emergencies as they can spread and involve adjacent structures if left untreated.

Loose brackets and broken braces

Those with braces will need to watch for loose brackets and broken braces. Should these occur, manually reattach the damaged segment if possible, and seek treatment right away.

Lost crown, cap, or filling

These items are intended to protect the tooth. To avoid further damage, seek treatment immediately should one of these items be lost.

Dental emergencies can be managed and treated if the patient visits the dentist promptly. They are preventable with proper oral care and dental hygiene.