A dental emergency is an issue involving the teeth and supporting tissues that is 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, 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 fracture the treatment options will vary. Dental restoration falling out or fracturing can also be considered a dental emergency as these can impact on 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.
Lost or broken fillingA 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.
Broken crownCrowns can become broken by a fracture, non-retentive preparation, secondary caries, weak cement, excessive occlusal forces, decementation or loosening of the crown. The consequences of a crown becoming loose include the risk of ingestion and less likely, inhalation. The management of the loose crown includes immediate recementation or a replacement crown, depending on the assessment conducted by the dentist.
Broken dentureA fracture can involve any damage to the denture. Any type of repair to the denture is much less ideal then making a new one. The ratio of fracture to a denture is a 1:3 ratio of the upper to lower.
Broken or loose implantsImplant success is relatively high, the rate of implant survival is between 85-95%, although it is not uncommon for emergency management of a failing implant or one of its components. The failure is most likely due to infection of the implant. It is highly recommended to visit or refer patient to the specialist who provided the implant.