Dental emergencies happen all the time. Dentists deal with emergency dental care, like broken teeth, severely painful mouth injuries, lost dental crowns, etc. every day. In such emergency cases, there are some important things that you can do for immediate dental attention. When dental emergencies happen, a quick prevention and response from your end might make a big difference. During dental emergencies, it is obvious that the first person to call will be your family dentist.
To make an accurate diagnosis about your tooth’s need for endodontic therapy (root canal), your dentist will need to evaluate information collected from a number of different sources.
And while there are some obvious signs that nearly everyone is familiar with, there are also a number of less apparent ones that quite possibly only your dentist will notice.
1. Symptoms you have noticed – It’s usually the presence of discomfort and/or swelling that signals to a person that their tooth has a problem. Your dentist will quiz you about what you have experienced.
Sensitivity to hot/cold
Gum tenderness or swelling
Frequency of pain or swelling
2. Signs noticed by your dentist – Some teeth give little indication that there’s a problem within their nerve space. But to the trained eye, these subtle hints can be an obvious sign that a problem likely exists.
Identifying problem teeth with x-rays
Recurring or persistent gum pimples
Individually darkened teeth
Exposure of a tooth’s nerve
3. Additional testing – Once a dentist has identified a suspect tooth, they may then perform additional testing that can help to confirm their suspicions.
Percussion testing – tapping the end of one of their instruments on your tooth.
Electric pulp testing – A pulp tester transmits low-levels of electrical current to a tooth. The general idea is that a healthy nerve will respond with a tingling sensation. A dead nerve will have no response.
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms mentioned here, you should contact your dentist and make arrangements to be evaluated and receive treatment in a time frame they determine is necessary.
Don’t make assumptions and don’t delay
Some people won’t seek treatment promptly if, in their mind, they think it’s already too late, will cost too much money or else the idea of having the treatment is too unnerving for them.
Don’t make this mistake. If you have a tooth that’s displaying symptoms, have your dentist evaluate it sooner rather than later. Doing so may make a big difference in what you experience, what type of treatment you require and its total cost.
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:
Grinding your teeth
Gum disease affects only the oral health is a myth. Studies suggest that it contributes to life threatening conditions such as:
Heart disease and stroke – Gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with it.
Diabetes – People with diabetes often have some form of gum disease, likely caused by high blood glucose. People with diabetes need to take extra care to ensure proper brushing and flossing techniques are used to prevent the advancement of the gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dental hygienist should be followed.
Chronic kidney disease – People without any natural teeth, are more likely to have chronic kidney disease (CDK), than people with natural teeth. CDK affects blood pressure potentially causing heart disease, contributed to kidney failure, and affects bone health.
Preterm birth – Women with periodontal disease are more likely to have a baby born preterm compared to women without any form of gum disease. Women are more susceptible to gingivitis when pregnant and should follow their regular brushing habits, and continue with dental cleanings and examinations.
To prevent gum disease, proper brushing and flossing and following dental hygiene tips is the easiest way, but regular cleanings with your dentist are necessary to remove calculus and treat advanced gum disease. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist.