What’s a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies can range from infections due to bacteria, fungi or viruses, or due to trauma to the teeth, such as fractures.  

Reversible pulpitis is pulpal inflammation, which presents as pain with hot, cold or sweet stimuli, complications of which can lead to periapical abscess and cellulitis. For such a dental emergency, a filling is done to relieve the pain.

Irreversible pulpitis is also pulpal inflammation, which presents as spontaneous but poorly localized pain, a complication of which can lead to periapical abscess formation and cellulitis. Treatment of irreversible pulpitis is root canal or extraction of the tooth.

Abscess is another kind of dental emergency, which occurs due to localized bacterial infection and presents as localized pain and swelling. Its complication can lead to cellulitis. To treat abscess, an incision is given, and drainage is done. Often, root canal treatment or extraction of the culprit tooth is also done to aid the process.

Cellulitis is a dental emergency which is diffused soft-tissue bacterial infection. Patients of cellulitis present with pain, erythema and swelling. Complications can lead up to the regional spread of the disease. To treat cellulitis, antibiotics are given first hand, then a root canal treatment or extraction is carried out.

Pericoronitis is inflammation of gum over partially erupted tooth. A patient of pericoronitis presents with pain, erythema, and swelling, which if complicated, can lead up to cellulitis. Treatment of this dental emergency includes irrigation first-hand, then antibiotics.

Dental trauma falls under another category of dental emergency.

Tooth fracture means a broken tooth. It can lead to pulpitis and sequelae if left untreated. It requires immediate attention and filling with or without RCT or extraction.

Another kind of dental emergency is tooth luxation, which means loose tooth due to a fall or hit. Its complications include aspiration of the loose tooth, occurrence of pulpitis and sequelae. Treatment of this dental emergency includes splinting of teeth, with root canal treatment of those teeth where required.

Tooth avulsion is one of the most challenging kinds of dental emergencies, which means a tooth falls out due to trauma or hit/fall. Its complications can lead to ankylosis and resorption later on. Treatment of this includes re-implantation of the avulsed tooth immediately and splinting if need be. Usually, an avulsed tooth should be kept in milk or saliva of the person while being taken to the hospital for re-implantation because the pH of saliva or milk is the same as that of the oral cavity. This helps the nerves survive. It is advised not to wash the tooth that has fallen out or to hold it from the side that is covered in blood because either of these two can contaminate and lead to deadening of the exposed nerves and vessels.

If any of these dental emergencies occur, contact our Summerville dentist office as soon as possible for treatment.

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