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Dental Emergencies: Introduction

Pain is one of the reasons people go to the dentist. A painful tooth can be triggered by hot or cold foods and drinks. Heavy biting or grinding may break a tooth and cause it to hurt when you chew. Sometimes, when a filling falls out, you may have a throbbing ache.

Any injury to teeth or gums should not be ignored. Nerves or blood vessels could be damaged. There is also a risk of getting an infection. If an infection is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the head and neck and cause serious health problems. In rare cases it can even become life threatening. It is very important to always seek treatment for a dental injury. Getting injured teeth repaired and treated as soon as possible after an injury is the best thing to do.

Today, dentists have many options for dealing with dental emergencies. There are advances in pain management and ways to restore teeth. Teeth can be repaired with synthetic materials that are strong and look as good as your natural teeth. Your dentist has the training and skills to identify what the problem is and how serious it is. He or she almost always can reduce or get rid of your pain within a few minutes.

When To Call Your Dentist

If you're not sure if a dental problem is an emergency, dentists offer this advice: If it hurts, it's an emergency. This is because even injuries that seem small can affect the living tissues inside the teeth. Quick treatment improves the odds of saving injured or damaged teeth.

Any obvious damage to a tooth should be treated as soon as possible. Chips or fractures can affect the living tissue inside the tooth, causing more problems in the future. Your dentist can prevent the damage from getting worse.

The same is true of a lost filling or crown. Even if you don't have any symptoms, the tooth has lost its support and it could easily become damaged. Pieces could break off or crumble, and you would need more extensive treatment. If you see your dentist right away, there's a good chance he or she will be able to repair the damage more easily.

©2002-2013 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved.

09/25/2013

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