A dental emergency is a problem that concerns your teeth and the supporting tissues. Due to their nature, these emergencies require speedy intervention by a dental professional so that you can prevent further issues. Washington Dental is a specialized practice for all sorts of dental problems, including dental emergencies.

Our offices at Lomita, downtown Los Angeles, and Carson are well-equipped with cutting edge dental equipment to ensure we give the best services to clients. In this blog, we will discuss what steps you can take in the face of a dental emergency.

Common Examples of Dental Emergencies

  1. Dislodged Teeth

Forces of impact can remove a tooth out of its socket partially or by a significant degree. This tooth is popularly known as an extruded tooth, and if there is no breakage, the dentist can save the tooth. Nonetheless, if the forces interfered with its nerves and blood cells, salvaging the tooth is not possible. You are likely to suffer unbearable pain and not use that part of your mouth for a while. You can attempt to push the tooth back into position by applying gentle pressure but do not force it.

If you are unsuccessful, you can bite on something to prevent the tooth from shifting further as you travel to see a qualified dentist. The attending dentist will apply local anesthesia then disinfect the affected area before repositioning the dislodged tooth. In extreme cases, you will need dental x-rays after this first round of treatment to see if there is damage to nerves and blood vessels.

  1. Toothache

There are many reasons why people experience pain, such as cavities, sensitive teeth, bruxism (grinding teeth), or gum disease. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction is another common reason for toothaches, and it results from clenching or grinding your teeth due to stress. If you work in a high-pressure environment, have exams coming up, or are working on a massive project, too much stress can trigger TMJ.  Damaged teeth can also cause toothaches when the problems are not addressed timely.

You need to see a dentist immediately the pain starts so they can determine what and how to manage the problem. Sometimes an aching tooth will relent for a couple of hours, days, or even weeks, and this small reprieve can make you downplay the importance of seeing a dentist. Waiting too long can lead to more complex issues like a cavity spreading to reach the pulp, and this would necessitate a root canal procedure. Washington Dental advises clients to come in for treatment whenever a toothache occurs so we can mitigate the problem before it escalates.

If you cannot see a dentist on the same day, there are measures you can take to manage the pain. Use a soft toothbrush so you can effectively remove plaque while preventing gum irritation. We remind clients that observing proper oral hygiene is essential even after receiving emergency dental treatment.

  1. Broken or Fractured Teeth

Many reasons can lead to a broken tooth, such as playing sports, being in an accident, falling inside the home, or if you are involved in a fight. You may have bitten on a hard surface or hard foods like a bone. Teeth grinding is another common reason for broken teeth, and it can happen at any age. Fillings also weakens the integrity of teeth, thus leaving them susceptible to cracking and eventually falling off. More so, the risk of broken teeth increases with age, especially after hitting 50 years.

Depending on the circumstances, a fallen tooth can trigger excruciating pain that can make eating or going through your day unbearable. Accidents can happen at any time of day or night, and that is why you need a trusted dentist who offers round-the-clock emergency services. Our dental experts are trained to handle various kinds of cracked teeth:

  • Fractured cusp – this problem occurs around a dental filling, and it doesn't affect the pulp. You may not have extreme pain, but emergency dental intervention is vital nonetheless.
  • Split tooth – this happens when a crack travels from the biting surface beneath the gum line, thus dividing the affected tooth into two portions. We shall try to salvage the entire tooth or at least one piece and restore the remaining part.
  • Vertical cracks – it is not atypical to find vertical cracks that haven't reached the gum line. Your tooth could succumb to pressure after biting on a hard surface or candy, resulting in a break, and getting treatment sooner than later boosts your chances of saving the tooth.

Cracked teeth typically present various symptoms like pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, and swelling around the affected tooth. However, not all cracked teeth present these symptoms, and that is why you need to see a dentist for a proper diagnosis. We conduct visual examinations, apply dental dye to make cracks conspicuous, run a dental explorer around the mouth, and perform X-rays to see if the pulp is affected.

This step is vital in identifying the suspected crack and others that may have gone unnoticed for a while. The dentist will then determine the appropriate treatment plan, such as a root canal, bonding, installing a crown, etc. When the tooth structure and underlying nerves are substantially damaged, tooth extraction is the only recourse.

  1. Damaged Tissues

Sometimes, the oral emergency problem does not involve the teeth, but rather, the inside of your mouth. It could be the cheek lining is inflamed after taking hot drinks, or you accidentally bit yourself. You could have a scalded portion making it difficult to consume food, and there could also be bleeding. The same can happen with your tongue; you could have bitten it accidentally or burned it with hot substances.

We advise clients to seek treatment as soon as possible to keep infections at bay. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may need to visit a hospital emergency room before seeing a dentist address your oral problems.

  1. Fallen Teeth

You can lose a tooth during an accident, sporting activity, or perhaps the tooth has been loosened for a while, and it finally gives in to pressure. It is scary to see your teeth fall out, and you must seek immediate dental care. If you can spot the tooth, collect it and handle it by the crown, not the root, then rinse it under running water carefully to avoid dropping it in the drain. Do not remove the bits of tissue attached to the tooth, and once you are done, place it in a container with milk.

Some people may attempt placing the fallen tooth back into the socket, but we don't recommend it if you are in pain. Depending on how the injury occurred, you could be bleeding profusely and in great pain, and forcing the tooth back in place will only increase the discomfort. You can take a painkiller to manage pain before getting to a dentist but avoid taking aspirin as this anticoagulant can trigger excessive bleeding. Opt for a painkiller like acetaminophen instead.

  1. Stuck Objects

It is unfortunate having something stuck in between your teeth or gums, and when this happens, you need dental assistance from a professional. It could be something sharp caught in between your teeth, or it penetrates the gum, and you cannot safely remove it using dental floss or toothpicks. If there is a chance of bleeding, we advise clients not to attempt yanking the stuck object as this may push it further inside.

Washington Dental has specialized tools for such dental emergencies, and we will also inspect the area for infections. After all, having a professional remove whatever object is stuck in your mouth is much safer than doing it at home.

  1. Tooth or Gum Abscess

An abscess is an accumulation of pus at the base of your gums or teeth. This condition can develop from trauma inside the mouth that was not appropriately treated, and discharge starts to seep into the mouth. When this happens, you will notice a foul taste inside the mouth, mainly when you apply force on the affected area. Common signs of abscess are a toothache, swelling of the gums, jaw, or face, and bad breath as the bacteria spreads inside the mouth.

Neglecting to treat dental abscess only paves the way for more problems, and you could lose a tooth. If you notice a bad taste in the mouth when you eat, see a dentist right away.

  1. Broken Braces

Orthodontic treatments like braces are meant to straighten your teeth, but they are prone to malfunctioning. The wires could break or stick outside the bracket, thus making it hard to close your mouth. It could hurt your tongue, gum, or cheek and cause bleeding.

You could try repositioning these wires using a pen or finger before seeing a dentist. Please do not cut the cord as it could fall back inside the mouth, and you swallow it. If the brackets are loose, you can use orthodontic wax to fasten them in place before seeing a dentist.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

As seen above, there are various kinds of oral problems that necessitate seeing an experienced dentist immediately. We appreciate that some dental emergencies are more important than others, but how you react will influence your chances of healing. The specific steps to apply to depend on the oral problem at hand, but we generally recommend doing the following:

  1. Keep Your Mouth Clean

If your tooth fell out of its socket, the exposed space is prone to bacterial infection, and this would affect the gum too. Rinse the mouth with warm water and avoid using chemicals when there is an exposed wound.

  1. Preserve the Tooth   

A fallen tooth could be in perfect condition and can, therefore, be restored to the socket. Wash the tooth without disturbing the attached tissue and bring this to the dentist. If a cracked tooth cannot be salvaged, the dentist will recommend installing an implant.

  1. Make Dental Appointment

Once you realize a dental emergency is at hand, contact Washington Dental to speak to a qualified dentist. We have three offices (Lomita, Downtown Los Angeles, and Carson), all equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Make reservations at the offices near you for convenience and time-saving.

  1. Manage Pain

Some dental emergencies arise from accidents or sporting events where extreme trauma is applied to the jaw, thus dislodging a tooth or fracturing it. The forces of impact can also lead to accidental biting of your mouth lining or the tongue, and this would trigger bleeding, not to mention the pain. Take suitable painkillers to manage pain before seeing a dentist.

Nevertheless, we have seen clients who self-medicate with painkillers instead of addressing dental problems. Allowing too much time to pass before treatment will only make things worse for you, so please use the painkillers sparingly and not as a treatment method. You can also numb the area by placing a cold compress on the exterior side of the infected area.

  1. Gather Medical Reports

If you have seen a dentist for other procedures, bring those medical reports for our perusal so that we can understand the matter at hand. For instance, you may have a long history of periodontal disease or other medical conditions that can influence the treatments we choose for you. The goal is to help us get a clear picture of your past and current state of oral health.

Find Emergency Dentist Near Me

Oral health is just as important as your overall body health. We ask clients to come for routine dental visits every six months for mouth inspection and teeth cleaning. Regrettably, we still find people who only remember dental appointments when an emergency occurs. It could be too much pain getting in the way of work or general life, a fallen tooth, a missing filling, or other recent problem that is making life unbearable.

If you notice any problem that requires professional attention, do not hesitate to contact Washington Dental. We endeavor to give clients personalized services to suit your unique dental needs. Visit our nearest offices in Lomita, Carson, and downtown LA or call the nearest office to book an appointment today.

We serve these locations locally to you: Lomita DentistCarson DentistLos Angeles Dentist