You might think that your dentist just cleans teeth and puts in fillings all day, but the truth is that emergency dentistry can be extremely varied. Your after hours dentist sees lots of different types of oral health problems every day, and has solutions that can improve or eliminate those problems as well. Here are some of the most common problems that send people running to their emergency dentist.
1. A TOOTHACHE
If you experience pain in or around a tooth, then you need to make a trip to see your dentist. A toothache could be a sign of gum disease, infection, dental decay, or tooth damage. And if you delay your treatment the problem could get worse or spread to other parts of your mouth. If you can’t get to your after hours dentist immediately, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush and floss your teeth gently. This should help with the pain. You can also take an over the counter painkiller if necessary. And get to your dentist as soon as possible.
2. A CAVITY
Cavities are caused by the build up of bacteria on your teeth that slowly eats through the enamel. If you have a cavity, you may experience pain in the tooth or increased sensitivity to hot, cold or sweets. If caught quickly, your dentist can easily fix your cavity with a filling. But if you leave it too long, the damage could become so extensive that the tooth is beyond saving. This means you’ll have to have a root canal, which is a much more involved dental treatment.
3. A CHIPPED TOOTH
A chipped tooth is the most common type of dental injury and usually occurs because of accidents. However, it can also occur when you bite down on something hard. A chip usually isn’t painful, but you still need to get it checked by your dentist and repaired using dental bonding or a dental crown for a larger chip. If you ignore the chip, then it could spread over time into a large crack or split, and you could lose the tooth.
4. IMPACTED TEETH
If your teeth don’t come in properly, they can become impacted. This often occurs with wisdom teeth, because there often isn’t room for them in the mouth. As a result, the teeth can get stuck against the jaw or other teeth. If you have an impacted tooth, then you need to get it assessed. Only your dentist can tell you if it can stay in or needs to be extracted. But if the area becomes sore, changes colour, or starts to release pus, then you need to see your after hours dentist immediately.
5. A CRACKED TOOTH
A cracked tooth is much more serious than a chip. It usually occurs because of accident or injury and means that there’s a crack in your tooth from the biting surface down towards the root. Cracks can be very small and hard to see with the naked eye, which is why you need to visit your dentist if you experience tooth pain or sensitivity after an injury. Your dentist will assess the tooth to see if it can be saved using a root canal and a crown. But if the crack runs down into the gum, the tooth will need to be removed.
6. A GUM INFECTION
Gum infections are unfortunately becoming more common. They occur when there’s a build up of bacteria on the teeth and beneath the gum line. The best way to avoid gum disease is to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for a deep clean every 6 months. You will probably be able to tell if you have gum disease. Your gums will be sore and red and will bleed easily. They may even start to pull away from the bottom of the teeth, making them look longer and more jagged.
If you don’t get your gums treated, you may lose teeth or experience bone loss in your jaw, which will change the shape of your jaw and the alignment of your teeth. Your after hours dentist will give your teeth a deep clean and scaling and perhaps even prescribe medications to help fight off the infection.
7. WISDOM TEETH PAIN
Not everyone has room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth. This can cause them to come in crookedly so they push other teeth out of alignment, or they can even grow down into the jaw. If you experience sudden pain at the back of your mouth, then it may be because of your wisdom teeth and means that you need to visit your emergency dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to assess if your wisdom teeth can come through safely. If they can’t, your dentist will need to perform an extraction.
8. A DISLODGED TOOTH
Teeth can get knocked out because of accidents and sporting injuries. If this occurs, then you need to see your after hours dentist as soon as possible. If you act quickly, your dentist may be able to save and replace the tooth. Just make sure you pick up the tooth, clean it off, and keep it moist until your dentist can get to work.
9. TOOTH SENSITIVITY
Sensitive teeth are a very common problem that can indicate a cavity, gum disease, or a crack in your tooth, but can also mean nothing. So, if you have sensitive teeth, or if a tooth suddenly becomes sensitive, you need to get it checked by your dentist. If the sensitivity is because of a dental problem, your dentist will be able to treat it with a filling, gum treatment, or root canal. And if there isn’t a problem, they can recommend an effective desensitizing toothpaste.
10. FOOD STUCK BETWEEN YOUR TEETH
Unfortunately, if you have unusually large gaps between your teeth, then hard foods and other particles can get stuck there. This can be very painful and annoying. Try to remove the food yourself by brushing and flossing your teeth first. You can also use a pair of tweezers to remove the obstacle. However, if all these strategies fail, then you can also make an appointment with your dentist, who will use dental instruments to get it out. Whatever you do, don’t just leave the obstacle there as the food will start to rot and cause tooth decay.