Dental 911: Dental Emergency - What Constitutes One...

Dental Emergency Defined

Your smile – you’re never really without it. Or you shouldn’t be. It’s that important. People decide a lot about you, just by your smile. So when something happens to harm or mess up your smile, it may always feel like a dental emergency.

Yet, all dental “situations” are not necessarily a dental emergency.

So then, what does constitute a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is harm or injury to your mouth and/or teeth that requires immediate attention from a professional dentist and – if left untreated until “regular office hours” – could result in permanent injury or disability.

Examples of dental emergencies:

A tooth knocked out completely or out of alignment is a dental emergency.

This is a definite dental emergency and should be addressed right away. If the tooth comes completely out, do retrieve it but do not handle it by the root. In some cases, the tooth can be preserved and reinserted. Rinse the tooth but do not scrub it or remove any material still attached to it.

If the tooth is out of alignment / askew, you can use your finger or light pressure to move it back into place but do not force it.

A tooth that is cracked or fractured is a dental emergency.

This is not the same as a chipped tooth. A chipped tooth that does not hurt, is not a dental emergency. A cracked or fractured tooth is a different situation. Often, in this situation, the tooth has been injured on the inside as well as on the outside.

Any mouth or gum tissue damage that is significant is a dental emergency.

If there is any tissue or gum damage such as a serious laceration, puncture, etc. with bleeding that is significant or won’t stop with normal pressure. In these cases, rinse the mouth with warm water and get emergency dental treatment as soon as possible.

The bottom line with all dental situations is that a dental emergency is one where a tooth has been lost, there is danger of losing a tooth without immediate emergency dental treatment, there is gum / mouth tissue damage, there is a severe or worsening infection of a tooth (as indicated by a fever, swelling or significant pain) or if there is unexplained and extreme mouth / tooth pain in general.

In any of these cases, the best thing to do is to get to an emergency dentist for emergency dental treatment right away.

Here at Cigno Family Dental in Milwaukee / Greenfield, we are experienced at handling dental emergencies and are here to help!

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