With proper oral care, oral-related problems can be prevented.
But, because more than 30 percent of Americans do not brush their teeth at least twice a day, 20 percent never flossed, and 21 percent do not visit the dentist, 2.1 million emergency dental visits due to non-traumatic oral-related problems were recorded in 2012.
Emergency dental visits have cost the health care system of the United States 1.6 billion US dollars with an average of around 749 dollars per emergency visit.
Why do dental emergencies happen?
Dental emergencies can happen because of unattended dental problems and accidents especially among people involved in contact sports like rugby, football, and basketball.
When dental problems like tooth decay are not immediately addressed, they can worsen and lead to severe pain. The bacteria can also affect surrounding structures or get inside the tooth and infect the dental pulp.
On the one hand, accidents in sports are usually inevitable due to the nature of the game. However, the risk of sustaining an injury increases when a player does not wear a mouth guard.
What are the typical cases of a dental emergency?
Cases of dental emergencies include, but are not limited to, cracked or broken teeth, a lodged object between the teeth, excessive and uncontrollable bleeding, jaw injury, painful swelling, damaged dental work, loose tooth, and severe or abrupt tooth pain.
What can I do when a dental emergency happens?
There are home remedies you can try depending on the case of your dental problem.
- If you have a cracked or broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and place a cold compress outside the affected area. Contact your dentist immediately.
- For a lodged object between your teeth, try removing the object through flossing. If flossing is insufficient, go to your dentist.
- If you are experiencing uncontrolled and excessive bleeding, head to an emergency room or call an emergency dentist. You can cleanse the area by rinsing with water while applying a cold compress can reduce the swelling.
- When you have a jaw injury, go to your dentist or head to an emergency room immediately. While on the way, you can apply a cold compress over the affected area.
- You can reduce painful swelling by gargling salt water. However, even when the pain gets alleviated, schedule an appointment with your dentist as the swelling may be due to an infected pocket of pus which can result in an abscess or severe infection if unaddressed.
- For damaged braces or lost crown or filling, schedule a dental appointment immediately. Some cases of damaged braces may need abrupt attention. For lost dental fillings, you can apply clove oil to sensitive areas and put dental cement available in drugstores on the surface while waiting for treatment.
- In case of a loose tooth, apply a cold compress on the area to minimize the discomfort or take an over-the-counter pain reliever. See your dentist as soon as possible.
- When a severe or abrupt pain is experienced, rinse with warm water. Afterward, gently floss the area to make sure that no object is stuck between the teeth. If the pain does not cease, visit your dentist.
What can I do to prevent dental emergencies from happening?
There are simple ways you can practice to lessen the likelihood of dental emergencies from happening.
Practice good oral hygiene religiously and visit your dentist at least twice a year. You may think it is time-consuming now but by doing these simple routine can save you time and money in the future. Through a good oral care routine and dental check-up, you can stop a dental problem from getting worse.
If you are into contact sports, wear mouth guards. These protective gears help you lessen the risk of injuries.
Also, stop the habit of using your teeth as a utility tool. You may have opened a bag of chips with it or break a clothing tag, but it can fracture and crack your teeth.