A dental emergency is an issue involving the teeth and supporting tissues that are of high importance to be treated by the relevant professional.
Dental emergencies do not always involve pain, although this is a common signal that something needs to be looked at. Pain can originate from the tooth, and surrounding tissues or can have the sensation of originating in the teeth but be caused by an independent source (orofacial pain and toothache). Depending on the type of pain experienced an experienced clinician can determine the likely cause and can treat the issue as each tissue type gives different messages in a dental emergency.
Many emergencies exist and can range from bacterial, fungal, or viral infections to a fractured tooth or dental restoration, each requiring an individual response and treatment that is unique to the situation. Fractures (dental trauma) can occur anywhere on the tooth or to the surrounding bone, depending on the site and extent of the fracture the treatment options will vary.
Dental restoration falling out or fracturing can also be considered a dental emergency as these can impact function in regards to aesthetics, eating, and pronunciation and as such should be tended to with the same haste as loss of tooth tissue. All dental emergencies should be treated under the supervision or guidance of a dental health professional in order to preserve the teeth for as long as possible.
By contrast, a medical emergency is often more precisely defined as an acute condition that presents an immediate threat to life, limb, vision, or long-term health. Consequently, dental emergencies can rarely be described as medical emergencies in these terms.
Some define a dental emergency in terms of the individual’s willingness to attend emergency dental treatment at any time at short notice, stating that persons who are fussy about when they are available for treatment are not true emergency cases. There are often divergent opinions between clinicians and patients as to what constitutes a dental emergency. E.g. a person may suddenly lose a filling, crown, bridge, etc. and although they are completely pain-free, still have great cosmetic concerns about the appearance of their teeth and demand emergency treatment on the basis of perceived social disability.
The treatment is cause-related. For example, oil of cloves, which contains eugenol, can be used to treat dental pain; a drop can be applied with a cotton swab as a palliative. After wisdom tooth extraction, for example, a condition known as dry socket can develop where nerve endings are exposed to air. A piece of sterile gauze or cotton soaked in oil of cloves may be placed in the socket after careful cleaning with saline to relieve this form of pain.
Over-the-counter topical anaesthetics containing active ingredients such as benzocaine or choline salicylate may be applied directly to the gum in order to deaden sensation. Analgesics such as aspirin, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen are also commonly used; aspirin and ibuprofen have the additional benefits of being anti-inflammatories. Ice and/or heat are also frequently applied . A dentist may prescribe an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid such as Dexameth for pain relief prior to treatment.
A fractured, ditched or dislodged filling that is broken or lost may cause discomfort or sharp pain due to jagged edges. There can be aesthetical concerns if the filling is in a visible area. Patients need to be aware of the sharp edges and ensure their tongue does not constantly apply pressure around that area, as it can cause cuts to the tongue. However, in some cases the result of the loss of a filling can cause irritation to the side of the cheek and potentially lead to an ulcer. Sharp edges can easily be dealt with by levelling the filling or tooth edges from your local dentist during the emergency appointment.
Hypersensitivity issues may also arise, short sharp pain caused by exposed underlying dentine, after the deterioration of the filling material. Reasons for the deterioration of a restoration vary in different cases, the cause may be underlying caries or it could be occlusal trauma, caused from natural dentition during mastication.
The longevity of restorative materials could also be a factor; the survival rates of amalgam are usually 10–15 years, composite 7 years, while gold and ceramic fillings have over a 20-year longevity. During the emergency appointment the dentist will need to take a set of radiographs to assess for any underlying caries, bone loss or possible abscess. The clinical examination will detect the reasons behind the failure of the restoration. Upon treatment the dentist will provide options on the tooth’s prognosis, these may include a new restoration, extraction, root canal or placement of a crown. The tooth prognosis includes the tooth’s vitality and restorability.
When you’re searching for a dentist, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers these suggestions:
- Ask family, friends, neighbours, or co-workers for their recommendations.
- Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
- If you’re moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
- Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on its web site, www.ada.org. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under “dentists” or “associations.”
- The ADA suggests calling or visiting more than one dentist before selecting one.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
- What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
- Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
- Where was the dentist educated and trained?
- What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
- What type of anaesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
- What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
- Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
- What is the dentist’s office policy on missed appointments?
If visiting a dentist’s office:
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
- Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
- Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?
HYDRO MEDICAL is a fully equipped and trusted medical practice in Bali. Hydro medical also provides a dental services for you while you are in Bali. Located in strategic area in bali like canggu and ubud, Hydro medical will always be ready to serve you 24 hours for 7 days. Once you’ve found your dentist and established they can take you on as a new Hydro Medical patient, you’ll need to supply your dentist with some information. To register you as a new patient, they’ll ask you for your name and address. You’ll also be asked to sign a registration form and arrange your first check-up.
You’ll be asked to complete a full medical history form before your appointment, so you should bring an up-to-date list of any medication you take.
At this stage you should be given all the relevant information you need about your dentist including:
- the dental services they provide
- who’ll be carrying out your dental treatment
- contact information and opening hours
- If you want to register your child you should do this at the same time you register yourself. You don’t have to wait until your child’s teeth grow in, you can register them soon after they’re born.
You do not need to pay a deposit for an appointment to register. Don’t be hesitate to come and make an appointment at Hydro Medical Bali, because we will serve you with an excellent services and professional health care providers.