Two situations which call for an immediate trip to the emergency dentist

Posted on: 14 July 2017

There are certain oral health issues that have to be dealt with promptly. Read on to learn about two situations which call for immediate dental treatment:

A tooth has been knocked out after an oral injury

If you have fallen and hit your mouth against the ground, or if you've sustained a blow to the face, you don't necessarily have to go to the emergency dentist. Minor oral injuries (such as a small scratch on your lip or a slight cut on the inside of your cheek) are rarely serious and will usually heal of their own accord within a few days. In this type of situation, all you need to do is rinse your mouth out with salt water every few hours (to prevent an infection from developing) and wait for the wound to resolve itself.

However, if your oral injury has led to one of your teeth falling out, it is vital to go to the dentist as soon as you possibly can. If you can locate the dislodged tooth, you should pop this into a container of milk and bring it with you to your appointment, as the dentist might be able to re-insert it if you receive treatment quickly enough.

A number of problems can develop if you fail to get to the dentist's office promptly after losing a tooth; firstly, re-insertion might not be possible and you may end up having to endure the expense and hassle of having a denture or a dental implant fitted.

Secondly, the deep, open wound in the empty tooth socket could become infected; this can be very painful and may result in you having to take a course of strong antibiotics.

You're experiencing persistent swelling and severe tooth pain

A mild toothache does not usually necessitate a trip to the emergency dentist. However, if you are experiencing a very high level of persistent pain, which has begun to radiate outwards from your affected tooth to other parts of your face, and which is accompanied by visible swelling, it is crucial to make a dental appointment immediately.

Swelling and pain of this kind are often indicative of an infected abscess in or around the tooth. Unfortunately, this type of infection will not heal on its own and requires prompt treatment to prevent it from worsening. If you wait to go to the dentist, there is a risk that the infection will spread throughout the facial tissues, the jawbone and into the bloodstream, in which case it could end up becoming a medical emergency.

If your dentist diagnoses you with this issue, they will pop and drain the abscess, before cleaning up the infected area of the mouth and providing you with antibiotics to ensure that the infection does not spread.