An emergency is the last thing anyone would want to deal with. In such situations, every second is crucial, as the patient is basically chasing after time. After all, the longer they go untreated, the more likely their condition could worsen until they reach a point of no return.
Dental emergencies are nothing to shrug off, whether the patient’s tooth is hurting or their mouth got cut. Granted, not all are severe enough to threaten one’s life. However, that doesn’t remove the risk of affecting the rest of their bodily systems over time, especially with how closely related oral health is to one’s overall wellness.
Since every second counts, you must be ready to act once a dental emergency arises. Here are some tips that might come in handy:
1. Avoid Panicking
Panic and emergency are a recipe for disaster. Although it’s a natural response, panic often leaves its victims frozen or their minds too messy to think properly.
For those in the company of someone affected by a dental emergency, try your best to stay grounded. Naturally, the victim often panics the most, especially if the pain is unbearable or they’re rapidly losing blood. As the one least affected by what’s happening, you must stay calm and rationalize your next move.
However, if you’re the victim of a dental emergency, not panicking might be even more challenging. With pain and distress converging into one, staying calm in that situation is almost impossible. However, forcing yourself to snap out of it is necessary, especially if there’s no one around to help.
Regulate your breathing by taking deep inhales and exhales. Ensure you hold your breath for around ten seconds before releasing it. Do this repeatedly until you clear your head somewhat. Once you can think properly, focus on managing your injury and go to a reputable dental clinic like The Village Dental Center for proper assessment and treatment.
2. Consider The Symptoms
Now that your panic is under control, look at what’s happening to the victim. Assess the damage and collect every piece of information that might indicate what kind of dental emergency you’re dealing with.
Using all kinds of remedies without knowing what problem they’re supposed to fix might waste precious time or worsen the victim’s condition.Do your best to examine the site thoroughly. Otherwise, you might miss a sign that’s related to its treatment.
Here are some common symptoms you’ll probably encounter:
Regardless of age, everyone has already experienced a sudden pain in their teeth. It could be a single tooth or an entire section acting up out of the blue. But despite how painful it is, not all of those instances are considered emergencies.
Getting a toothache is so common because of how mundane some of its sources are. The most typical culprit is when something caught between your teeth potentially misaligns or irritates them, depending on how tough the blockage is. Many home remedies can resolve that problem. For example, rinsing your mouth with warm water before flossing between the gaps could dislodge the stuck particle.
However, start worrying if the pain continues. Instead of a lodged particle or growing pains for young ones, a persistent toothache points toward more severe dental conditions. Having toothaches that last for as long as days while interfering with your day-to-day clearly indicates something more serious.
Moreover, experiencing dental trauma is often a common reason behind prolonged toothache. Any damage delivered to the victim’s mouth will quickly worsen if left untreated. This could be the case with tooth trauma or a cut cheek, lip, or tongue.
There’s nothing singular or universal about what kind of tooth trauma victims may have. After all, given how many circumstances follow up to it, tooth trauma could be experienced after an accident or unexpected mishaps. Still, most instances wherein the victim’s teeth get damaged are often minor.
As for having a bleeding mouth, this normally occurs after the soft tissue inside gets damaged. Whether you bit yourself or a heavy impact was dealt on the victim, having a bleeding mouth often looks worse than it is. That’s what happens when plenty of blood vessels are found in the mouth tissues.
Control the bleeding by rinsing the mouth gently before covering it with a towel. Once the bleeding is under control, locate where it’s coming from.
b. Face Swelling Up
Since the mouth is a part of the victim’s face, it’s only natural for the latter to be affected, especially when there’s a severe dental infection. When that happens, the victim’s face swells up while flashes of pain erupt along the gums. Normally, an infection indicates there’s a dental abscess somewhere that’s causing the inflammation.
Similar to normal abscesses, dental abscess often appears swollen, giving them a stark resemblance to pimples. But while pimples are often the body’s natural reaction, abscess damages tissue. And, given that it’s dental in nature, this condition tends to occur around the root of a tooth or in a gap between the teeth and gums. It appears as a yellow, red, or whitish pimple on the gums. Hence, it’s safe to say that this dental condition is fairly straightforward.
While having a swollen face is already distinct, another indication of a dental abscess is discolored gums. After all, that’s where abscess takes place. Since it infects the surrounding area, the tissue will eventually be covered in an abscess.
c. Jaw Problems
Although the jaw is outside the mouth, it still influences the ease of how people eat. Thus, how you chew your food will be hindered if the jaw is affected in any way.
When assessing a jaw problem, you must feel around for the victim’s temporomandibular joints (TMJs), which are responsible for the jaw’s mobility. When inflamed, the pain becomes so tremendous that the muscles become rigid, causing the jaw to lock up.
Despite how unnatural the entire scenario is, some cases imply that having your jaw locked up tends to be a natural reaction. After all, it’s often non-traumatic, falling under natural development. However, it’s much worse when an external factor breaks or dislocates the jaw. Instead of only having a minor inconvenience, certain problems, such as numbness, difficulty chewing, or facial swelling, might crop up.
Knowing these signs allows you to act accordingly during dental emergencies.
3. Take The Necessary Measures
While some of the symptoms mentioned above may seem impossible to manage as a non-medical professional, you still need to try. Helping the victim overcome their condition must be your priority. Since medical services will take time to reach your destination, the victim’s counting on you to at least lessen the severity of their symptoms.
For toothache, ensure the victim’s mouth is cleaned properly. Use warm water mixed with salt to soothe any aching while working to clear up any foreign particles inside. The same measure must be practiced for someone suffering from a dental abscess. Finding the opportunity to disinfect the affected area is a must, as it may result in more severe damage the longer it’s left untreated.
In case of bleeding in the mouth, controlling blood loss is essential. Otherwise, panic or delirium may arise, not to mention the fact that extreme blood loss can be fatal. Granted, it may not seem a big deal compared to a worsening infection. However, experiencing a mental breakdown on top of everything else might be too much for others.
4. Contact A Professional
Although your help is immeasurable, no one can replace the experts. With their thorough knowledge of dentistry and its potential problems, dentists may as well have the entire situation under control. Unless you’re a doctor, you’re bound to make mistakes that might worsen the patient’s condition instead of improving it. Contacting medical services as soon as possible improves the chances of stabilizing the patient’s condition.
5. Be Informed
It’s easy to make mistakes in any emergency. However, the consequences after committing one often lead to disaster. Making a mistake when life is at stake is the last thing you want to do.
Since dental emergencies can happen anytime, consider researching before another emergency arises. Look up common dental emergencies and how to handle each one. See if there are any basic first aid procedures you can give to victims so you can memorize them step-by-step until you can perform them out of pure muscle memory.
It’s impossible to predict an emergency. However, the only thing that’s certain is how it can happen at any time; dental emergencies are no exception. While some may consider them non-life-threatening, compromising one’s oral health can be a dangerous situation as it impacts the rest of the victim’s well-being.
That said, learning to deal with dental emergencies promptly lowers the possibility of the patient’s condition worsening, which improves their chances of stabilizing their health. You can achieve this by equipping yourself with the basic knowledge of various dental conditions and learning first aid skills to help alleviate the victim’s symptoms before a proper medical assessment and treatment.