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A dental emergency can arise at any time. We can limit the chance of a toothache type of dental emergency by seeking regular dental care. Most dental issues take months (and in some cases years) to develop. A dental emergency can also occur following even the slightest trauma. Being prepared with a few items in a dental emergency kit can help you to provide care in the case of a trauma or other dental emergency. What are the most common emergencies and what else can you do if a dental emergency arises?

Common Dental Emergencies

Broken or Fractured Tooth – This dental emergency can become quite painful very quickly. If the nerve of the tooth is exposed just the simple act of breathing will begin to hurt. This may also be a “cosmetic dental emergency”, usually if it involves damage to a front tooth without pain. Unfortunately, broken teeth cannot be fixed at home and will need immediate attention by a dentist. For a back tooth, a medicated filling may be placed until you can be seen by your dentist. A product called Dentemp can be purchased at the drug store, mixed and placed by you, to help temporarily cover the hole. Whether or not the tooth can be saved depends on how severe the break is. Until you are able to get to your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress outside the affected area, and keep the area as clean as possible. May consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication to keep the swelling down as well as take the edge off the pain that can develop. It is not suggested to take aspirin, it will cause difficulties in clotting if the tooth needs to be removed.

Injury to your Jaw/TMJ If you suspect you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold compress to the area and immediately go to the dentist or to the emergency room. If you have locked or dislocated your jaw, you will need to have the jawbone re positioned back into your TMJ. Ice immediately.

-Painful swelling. This is a definite dental emergency and you should call your dentist immediately for care. Dental swelling is due to an infection called an abscess. This can lead to an infection that affects your entire body and in rare cases can lead to death. To relieve some of the pressure you will want to apply cold compresses to the area, rinse with saltwater, and try to keep your head elevated. Once an infection gets to this point, most over the counter medications will not do much to ease the pain. Antibiotics will be required, and drainage of the infection will require you to be seen by your dentist.

-Biting Lip or Tongue with excessive bleeding – If you accidentally bite your lip, tongue, or part in your mouth, clean the area and apply a cold compress to help decrease swelling. If the bleeding is extensive, or will not stop in a few minutes, call your dentist or go to the emergency room.

-Tooth That Becomes Loose – If one of your teeth is loose, see your dentist right away. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth. Until you are able to get to your dentist’s office, take tylenol or aleve and apply a cold compress to the affected area to relieve pain.  If the tooth is loose due to trauma, the dentist will most likely recommend splinting the loose tooth to an adjacent tooth or two to allow for the tooth to re stabilize in the bone. a loose tooth can also be caused by periodontal disease which will develop over a period of years. In that case, you may not be able to save the tooth and it may be recommended to remove the tooth and have a dental implant placed instead. Never touch or play with a loose tooth. The more movement it receives, the less likely you will be able to save it.

-Pericoronitis. This is an infection that can happen when your molars erupt into your mouth, a flap of gum tissue remains over the back end of the tooth, becomes irritated and swollen, and can be quite painful. If you experience symptoms of pericoronitis, which may include swollen and irritated gums, a bad taste/odor in your mouth, or you are not able to fully open your mouth, call your dentist right away.

-Sudden Or Severe Toothache. If your tooth is aching, rinse out your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth to make sure there is nothing lodged between your teeth. Call your dentist immediately. This could be a gum irritation or infection, or a tooth problem such as a crack or infection.

-Tooth That Has Been Knocked Out (also called avulsed tooth) – The key here is to clean off the tooth immediately to remove any dirt and debris. You want to avoid scrubbing the tooth, just a gentle rinsing will be fine. If the tooth can be re implanted you should try to do so. This is not always possible if there is bleeding and swelling in the affected area. The second best option is to place the tooth in a milk solution. The milk will act as a preservative and increase the long term chances of a successful re implantation. You should call or see your dentist immediately even if you are able to re implant the tooth yourself. The tooth will probably need to be splinted to another tooth while it heals as well as have your dentist check that it is in proper alignment. The tooth will also need to be monitored over time to gauge the success of the re implantation as well as any long term affects that might happen due to the trauma.

-Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown Unfortunately, this dental emergency can happen at any time even with regular dental care. If your dental crown does come off call your dentist immediately for instructions. Most drug stores do sell fixodent, or temporary cement to place it back on until you are able to be seen by your dentist. This will limit the possibility of tooth decay developing or tooth sensitivity. The same can be done for a lost filling, most drug stores sell a temporary filling material that can be applied at home. Either way, you will need to seek dental care ASAP to prevent further damage from occurring.

-Damage To Braces – If you suspect or know that you have damaged your braces in some way, you should call your dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, they will want to see you right away (especially if the break is causing pain or discomfort) or they may recommend waiting until your next appointment.

-Food Or Debris Lodged Between Your Teeth – If food or debris gets stuck between your teeth, try to swish aggressively, then gently remove it with dental floss. Be careful not to cause undue trauma to the area. If the object still will not come free, call your dentist for further instructions.

Simple Dental Emergency Kit: 

Dentemp – temporary medicated filling-to fill in broken tooth areas.

Fixodent – to temporarily cement a crown back in.

Floss – to remove lodged debris.

Tooth Saver Container – to transport an avulsed tooth in a dental emergency.

Pressure activated ice pack, advil, gauze.

Dental Emergency Conclusion

Since, a dental emergency can lead to life threatening infections or tooth loss, you should seek dental care immediately. The sooner you are able to seek dental treatment, the better your chances are to minimize any life threatening conditions. Regular dental care will lower the chances of most dental emergencies ever occurring but if they do occur you need to ensure you choose a dentist who will be available to you after hours and on weekends. Many dental offices, will not re open or even take calls directly for dental emergencies after hours. This can be an important question to ask when choosing a new dentist. Be prepared, and you and those around you will be ready if or when a dental emergency occurs.

Let’s face it, going to the dentist is usually not a the top of most people’s fun list. Going to the dentist does not have to be an unpleasant experience that we dread. WhateverDentist Marielaina Perrone DDS the reason, many Americans skip visits to the dentist. In the United States alone, approximately 65 % of us go to the dentist, but in some states, that number is much lower, even below 52% percent in Mississippi.

Missing out on dental care can lead to real health issues including oral cancer, heart disease, and even alzheimer’s disease. If dental issues are caught early on they can be treated quite easily and at a reduced cost. Once the issues progress, not only does the level of treatment increase but so does the cost.

Why Do We Avoid The Dentist?

1. Dental Phobia – A large segment of the population has an unhealthy fear of the dentist. This can be due to previous bad experiences or a learned trait from their parents. Luckily, dental phobia can be overcome with good communication between patient and dentist. Choosing the right dentist goes a long way to creating a positive dental experience.

2. Cost – Money is always a factor in consumer choices and that includes our health needs. We all make choices every day based on cost. The reality is that visiting the dentist twice a year and finding dental issues early on are far less expensive than waiting until there is a problem developing. For example, in the early stages of tooth decay it can be easily fixed with dental bonding and be done in less than an hour. If left untreated it can enter the nerve of the tooth thus causing the need for root canal therapy and possibly a crown to save the tooth. The difference in cost could be as much as 10-12x the cost of the dental bonding. Also maintaining good oral hygiene at home can go along way to saving you money and discomfort over time.

 

Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS3. Time – We all have a lot going on in our lives between work and family commitments. Finding the time to take care of our bodies should be a top priority but sometimes it is not. This is where making going to the dentist a routine from an early age comes into play. Dental health is vital to living a long happy and healthy life.

4. Fear of Being Reprimanded – No one likes getting yelled at but many have faced a hygienist or dentist who has lectured them on doing a better job with at home oral hygiene. Again it comes down to choice of dentist and staff. You need to choose a dentist who is open to communication and finding better ways that work for you to maintain your hygiene.

5. Ignorance – Many people have grown up to believe certain myths or wives tales. A good example is that if my gums bleed just a little when I brush that is normal. Bleeding gums are never normal from routine brushing. This is a sign of the development of periodontal disease. The earliest phase, gingivitis, can be reversed but once it advances to periodontitis it can be maintained but not reversed. Ignorance or lack of education is not an excuse to take care of your teeth and gums.

Conclusion

Going to the dentist is as important as seeing your physician. Studies have shown our oral health and our general health are linked. To stay healthy we need to maintain our oral health. That includes regular visits to the dentist for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Developing a routine is essential to staying in good health. A routine will make it even easier to keep healthy over the course of your lifetime.



Root Canal Therapy (also called root canal treatment or endodontic treatment)  is a dental procedure in which the diseased or damaged nerve (pulp) of a tooth is removed and the inside areas (the nerve or pulp chamber and root canals) are cleaned, filled and sealed permanently to avoid dental infection. Without treatment, the surrounding tissues of the tooth (including the gums and bone) will become infected and a dental abscess can form.

A tooth’s nerve and blood vessel provide nutrients and hydration to a tooth as well as the ability to sense temperature. It provides the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will affect the routine functioning of a tooth. Over time, the tooth with the root canal dehydrates which makes the tooth brittle and more susceptible to fracture. Most often, a crown is placed following root canal treatment is completed to protect the tooth and restore full function to the patient.

Root canal therapy is considered by many to be the most feared dental procedure. Does that surprise you?  Surveys completed by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that most people with a fear of the dentist are based on others’ experience and not on their own.

The inaccurate information they receive about root canal therapy prevents patients from making a properly informed decision regarding their teeth.  Many patients will ask that a tooth be extracted rather than experience a root canal procedure simply fearing the unknown.

Painless DentistryRoot canal treatment is needed when the nerve or pulp tissue becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can occur from a number of ways: Decay that extends into the pulp chamber, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a fracture or chip in the tooth that allows bacteria to spread into the pulp chamber. Also, a traumatic injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to a dental abscess.

Root canal therapy is almost always recommended because a tooth is causing pain from a condition that is irreversible. Pulpitis (inflammation of the pulp), an infected pulp, broken teeth, or a slowly dying nerve are all common reasons for root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy is used to alleviate that dental pain. Most people who have root canal therapy admit they did not experience any pain during the appointment and felt better almost immediately afterward.

Signs that a root canal may be necessary include pain, prolonged sensitivity to temperature (hot or cold), tenPainless Dentistryderness to touch and chewing, darkening or discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes, bone and surrounding gingival tissues. Sometimes, no symptoms are shown at all

Root Canal Therapy generally requires one or more visits to the dentist and can be performed by either a dentist or a specialist called an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the human dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth. The choice is generally up to the dentist on who will perform the root canal. The reasons the dentist may send you to the endodontist include: degree of difficulty of the tooth involved and need for a microscope, re treatment of a Painless Dentistryprevious root canal, and the patients preference. You and your dentist will discuss who is best suited to complete this treatment for you and make the best decision for your treatment.

The first step is to take an X-ray (if one has not been already taken during the diagnosis) to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any indications of dental infection in the surrounding bone tissues. Your dentist or endodontist will then use a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the tooth. Anesthesia is not always necessary but generally preferred by patient to make the procedure more comfortable.

Once numb, the pulpal tissue along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue and related debris are cleaned out from the inside of the tooth and roots. Tiny instruments called dental files are used to measure the length of the root canal and to shape and clean the inside of each root. Sterile water, peroxide, or sodium hypochlorite are used periodically to flush away the debris and kill bacteria..

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, each root canal is filled to the end with a rubbery compound called gutta percha and sealed . The process essentially is like a cork to prevent bacteria and fluid from re-entering the tooth, and keep it sterile. Some dentists like to wait a week before sealing the tooth. This will give the Painless Dentistryinflammation a chance to settle down back to normal. Some prefer to seal the tooth the same day it is cleaned out. If the root canal is not completed on the same day, a temporary filling is placed to keep out contaminants like saliva and food until the next appointment.

The final step may involve a more extensive restoration of the tooth. Generally a tooth that needs a root canal often is one that has a large filling or extensive decay. Even when decay was not a factor, the root canaled tooth is weaker than a “live” tooth. Therefore, a crown, crown and post, or other restoration often needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, and restore it back to full function again. After restoration, you will not notice any difference in its function or form. You and your dentist will discuss this need further and decide together the best course of action for you.

Root canal therapy is highly successful and has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth repaired with a root canal can last a lifetime.

Most root canals are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulpal inflammation or infection. With modern techniques, materials, and anesthetics, most patients report that they do not feel any pain once the procedure is underway. Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Usually most patients report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a routine filling placed.

For a few days following treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over the counter or prescription pain medications or an antibiotic may be necessary if an infection was present. Follow directions given to you very carefully and feel free to ask questions if an issue arises.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your dentist.

As noted above, the pain from root canals in modern dentistry is from the infection that presents to the dentist and the actual procedure should be pain and worry free. Best defense against developing a toothache is to see your dentist regularly, maintain proper oral hygiene, and call your dentist at the earliest signs if you have any pains or discomfort.

Radiograph of RCT

Xray of completed root canal