Does one or more of your teeth feel like they’re throbbing or keeping you up at night? Did you recently injure your mouth, and you have dental pain? Or, have you just had a toothache that seems to have gone on for far too long?
In this article, we’ll explain some of the most common dental problems and how to deal with them. We’ll also discuss which problems are emergencies that must be dealt with immediately or risk losing your tooth permanently.
Read on for more information about some of the most common dental problems and different dental procedures.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A 2018 American Dental Association survey stated that only 58% of Americans visited the dentist at least once per year. 42% of those surveyed didn’t see the dentist as often as they’d like, whether due to insurance issues, time, or the cost. Those who don’t see the dentist regularly are more prone to dental emergencies, as seeing the dentist at least once per year can help stop problems before they start. Often, the treatment is less invasive and less expensive.
Dental emergencies explained, as guided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, meet specific criteria. Those whose teeth cannot stop bleeding after an extraction, swelling around the jaw and eyes or dental trauma are classified as dental emergencies warranting a trip to the medical doctor.
An emergency that needs to be urgently addressed at the dentist’s office is one in which an infection presents in the tooth or gum, or over-the-counter medication, such as Tylenol, doesn’t help control the pain.
If you’re unsure if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, you should call your dentist’s emergency number out of hours or call the reception during a workday. They can best advise you on what to do next.
A chipped tooth will happen to almost everyone in their lifetime. Whether they lose part of their tooth playing outside with their friends as children or bite into something a little too hard as an adult, a chipped tooth can cause problems that are more than just cosmetic.
Most people rush to the dentist to fix a chipped tooth when it is one of their front teeth. After all, most adults don’t want part of a tooth missing that others can see. While it typically isn’t an emergency, you’ll need to get a chipped tooth looked at, as it will cause more problems down the line.
If you chip your tooth at the back and it doesn’t hurt immediately, many people will simply wait until there is pain. This can cause expensive dental treatment further down the line that could have been avoided by visiting the dentist immediately.
A chipped tooth may expose a root or become infected, resulting in the need for a root canal or total removal of the tooth. Without treatment, an abscess may form, which is a type of infection and can become life-threatening without medication.
The next time you chip a tooth, don’t wait until you’re howling in pain.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, the joint that holds the jaw to the rest of the skull. This joint can be prone to pain or popping, especially in individuals who struggle with bruxism. Bruxism is grinding or clenching the teeth and is typically something done subconsciously, often during times of stress.
TMJ can often create jaw pain, but another TMJ suffers may experience tooth pain and sensitivity. The teeth can also wear down as a result of bruxism, which can turn into a more serious issue in the future.
While this isn’t a dental emergency unless you experience lockjaw, where you’re unable to open or close your jaw, it is something your dentist should be aware of. They can help you with things like night guards or retainers that can keep your mouth relaxed and prevent tooth damage.
Although gum disease or gingivitis can present without pain, many people experience bleeding or sore gums during the first stage. Gums may often bleed after brushing the teeth, which is sometimes a person’s first sign of gum disease. However, some people do experience pain with gum disease and especially may have tender gums. Some people may also experience loose teeth as adults, which can result in tooth loss.
Gingivitis is treatable in its early stages, which is why you must visit a dentist if you’re suffering from any of the early signs. It is also possible that you can have gingivitis without any symptoms, which is why a regular visit to the dentist is so important.
After a certain stage, gum disease becomes untreatable, and you may lose teeth or bits of bone to the disease.
Prevention of gum disease and gingivitis include both regular visits to the dentist and keeping up with oral hygiene. Ensure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss between meals, to prevent these issues in the future.
A Rundown of Common Dental Problems
We’ve only covered a fraction of common dental problems one may experience during their lifetime, as well as those that cause extreme pain. As such, it is important that if you’re experiencing anything out of the ordinary, you call the dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Early intervention can mean the difference between a filling and a root canal, or saving a tooth and having to extract it.
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