Sometimes, it can be difficult to know when you need to contact the dentist. Most preventative care visits are pre-scheduled, but other visits may become necessary throughout the year, especially when a dental emergency occurs. Here are a few examples of dental issues that necessitate an immediate call to your dentist's office:
A Dislodged Tooth
A tooth can be knocked from its socket by a traumatic blow. Once it is dislodged, the tooth begins to die. In order for the tooth to be salvaged, it must be properly placed back into the socket as soon as possible.
If a tooth is dislodged, it is best to contact your dentist immediately. He or she will likely ask you to come to the office for emergency care.
In the meanwhile, until you reach the dental office, you can place the tooth back in the socket, hold it in the pocket of your inner cheek or store it in a cup of milk.
It is important not to store the tooth in tap water or wash it with soap or detergent. Rinsing the foreign debris from the tooth is fine, but additional cleaning can remove soft tissue from the tooth that could help it reconnect in your mouth.
A Cracked or Chipped Tooth
Chipping or cracking a tooth can occur as you bite down on a hard substance. Sometimes, this type of damage results from bruxism, or the inadvertent grinding of your teeth at night. Regardless of the reason for the crack or chip, it should be assessed by your dentist, even if you feel that the damage is minor.
A crack or chip can extend beyond the dental enamel into the pulp of a tooth, which is the soft, living component that lies in the center of the tooth and contains the blood vessels and nerves. This area of a tooth is susceptible to damage from bacterial infection, and once the pulp becomes infected, the tooth may require a root canal or extraction.
If the crack or chip is minor and is covered properly, an infection is less likely to ensue. In addition, the damage to the tooth can be restricted from worsening due to the extra fortification from a dental crown or another suitable application. Nevertheless, a crack that extends through the dental root and separates a tooth into two components can only be treated by extraction.
To learn more instances in which you should contact your dentist without delay, consult a dental professional in your area (like Dr. Robert Petrtyl).