Women's Health Bag
Dental Emergencies

When is it an Emergency? An Introduction to Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can be scary. There’s no doubt about it. However, one of the most common questions about dental emergencies is a pretty straightforward one. That is, “What exactly constitutes a dental emergency?”

When all is said and done, any dental issue that relies on immediate treatment to save your tooth is a dental emergency. If your tooth is loose, missing, broken, or hurting quite a lot — you need to contact your dentist.

While dental emergencies tend to vary quite a bit, they typically involve some common symptoms. In many cases, these two very basic symptoms help shed light on the two major categories of dental emergency: a tooth that’s been impacted (by something hard enough to chip it or knock it out) or a tooth that’s become infected.  No matter what your symptoms are, do not ignore them. While the impact of a broken or fractured tooth often seems cosmetic, an aggressive infection or dental abscess can actually be a life-threatening condition and should be taken care of by an emergency dentist immediately.

What Causes the Most Common Dental Emergencies?

While the cause of broken, fractured, or loose teeth range from skateboard accidents to errant popcorn kernels, the causes of infection are much more nuanced.  As the American Dental Association (and dentists everywhere) would explain, “The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity.”  The problem with even seemingly small cavities is that they can allow bacteria to enter the inside of the tooth. Without proper treatment, pus accumulates around the tip of your tooth’s root. Near this root, a pocket of pus forms which is otherwise known as a “dental abscess”. If left untreated, this can cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body, resulting in further complications — and even death (in the most extreme cases). No that isn’t a joke.  In 2007, a 12 year old boy died after the bacteria from an infected (and abscessed tooth) eventually he need it a root Canal . This draws a great deal of attention to the importance of good oral hygiene and affordable access to professional dental care.

Prevent Unnecessary Dental Emergencies

Plaque, which is a common by-product in your mouth, also contains bacteria. Plaque and bacteria both stick to your teeth and gums and damage them at the same time. If plaque isn’t properly removed as part of preventative care and good oral hygiene, the surface of your teeth can ultimately become weaker — making tooth infection more likely. The most effective way to prevent unnecessary dental emergencies due to tooth decay and infection is to make sure that you care about your teeth. It could save you a lot of discomfort and expense in the future.

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