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How to Prevent Painful Dental Emergencies

A dental emergency can happen so quickly that it seems to come out of nowhere — and when they do strike, can be quite serious and painful. When left untreated, some dental emergencies can even become life-threatening. In the case of a painful dental emergency, it's important to be seen by a dentist right away, especially when it's accompanied by swelling or fever.

As a dentist for over 20 years at All Smiles Dentistry & Orthodontics, I have seen dental emergencies cause some serious pain. Here are a few ways to protect yourself from dental emergencies, and the best ways to keep your emergency symptoms at bay until you can be seen by a dentist.

How Can I Prevent the Most Common Dental Emergencies?

Most of the dental emergency cases we see at All Smiles Dentistry can easily be prevented. Many cases that bring our patients into the office with emergencies related to tooth pain are due to tooth decay that went unnoticed until it became very serious and caused a dental abscess.

Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, is actually bacteria living in the tooth, softening up the hard tooth structure and multiplying — much like a piece of fruit is left out for too long, that begins to rot and become soft. that rots if it is left out for too long and become soft and mushy. The bacteria gets to the middle of the tooth, also known as the pulp, to its blood and nerve supply. There, it can cause additional swelling and pain.

To prevent tooth decay from causing a painful dental emergency, it's critical to visit your dentist for regular dental checkups. This allows your doctor to help identify areas of tooth decay early on, before they have the chance to cause additional damage or pain. At your appointment, your dentist can remove the infected portion of the tooth and stop progressive damage in its tracks.

Another common cause of dental emergencies is trauma or injury, usually from sports. I was the team dentist for the Allen Americans Hockey team for 8 years, and saw many teeth broken from taking a hockey puck to the face. I have also seen basketball players have their faces hit on the court, resulting in tooth damage.

To prevent the irreversible damage to teeth that can occur during sports, wearing an athletic mouth guard is critical. Not only will a mouth guard provide a simple piece of insurance against tooth damage, but it can provide further protection against concussions.

What Should I Do in the Case of a Dental Emergency?

In the case of a dental emergency, there are a few steps you can take to prevent further damage and preserve your teeth until you can reach your local dentist. Here are our best strategies in the following dental emergencies:

If your tooth is bleeding:

Any bleeding in the gums or lips should be treated with ice and pressure to stop the bleeding.

If your tooth is broken:

If your tooth is broken, it is important to chew mostly on the other side until you can see the dentist to prevent further breakage. Even if your tooth does not have much pain, it is important to see the dentist immediately because there could be decay that will continue to soften the tooth and make it break off more if not treated.

If your tooth hurts when you bite down:

When you experience painful chewing, it's important to to avoid chewing on the side of the tooth that hurts until you can see your dentist. Tooth pain when biting down usually indicates the tooth is infected or cracked, and continuing to bite down into a cracked tooth can cause the crack to deepen inside the tooth.

If you have swelling:

Most oral pain is caused by inflammation in the case of trauma, or infection in the case of extensive decay. Inflammation can be treated with ice and OTC anti inflammatory drugs like Advil or Tylenol. If the tooth is infected, and especially if there is fever or swelling, it is important to see the doctor for emergency treatment and an antibiotic as soon as possible.

If your tooth comes out:

If a tooth has been fractured or avulsed (meaning the tooth has been removed from its socket), it may be able to safely be placed back in its socket if you can visit the dentist quickly. If your tooth has fallen out, place the tooth in your mouth until you can get to some water or milk. Do not scrub the tooth or let it dry out — for best results, put the tooth back in its socket within minutes.

Need Emergency Dental Care in Allen, TX?

When painful dental emergencies strike, All Smiles Dentistry in Allen is here for you! We'll do our best to offer speedy relief and prevent more serious oral health problems by offering you a same-day urgent dentist appointment. The sooner you visit a dentist for urgent dental care, the sooner you can relieve your pain and prevent costly dental complications.

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