In any given year, there are around two million dental-related visits to the emergency department in the United States. It’s easy to let a problem build up over time and then realize it needs to be dealt with right away (though where possible, a dentist is always a better choice than the emergency room).
However, you may not know when you’re dealing with a dental emergency and be unsure of whether it needs immediate attention. Since emergencies can cost more, people often try and wait for a more routine visit.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s likely an emergency and you need to get it taken care of right away.
1. Extreme Mouth Pain
There’s no more obvious sign that you’re dealing with severe dental issues than extreme pain. Tooth pain can be absolutely debilitating and if it’s gotten to the point where it’s affecting your day-to-day life, then it’s most likely an emergency.
Many people still hold off on going to the dentist, hoping the pain will subside on its own, but this is not often the case. If you’re dealing with that level of pain, there are dental problems going on that demand a professional’s attention and help.
If the pain isn’t too bad but persists for days on end, it’s still important to see a professional.
2. Pain Elsewhere
If you leave the pain in your mouth untreated (or it hasn’t been bad enough to notice), the pain can actually spread elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for people to get headaches due to tooth issues or feel that their jaw is sore.
This is more common when there’s something wrong with the back teeth, like an impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25, so keep a particular eye out for them (although they can be earlier or later in some people).
3. Stiff Jaw
If your jaw is stiff — even if you don’t feel pain — it could be a sign that you need dental care. Sometimes when there’s a problem with the back teeth it makes the jaw stiff and it can be hard to open your mouth to chew and eat.
This often affects what you can swallow and means you may only be able to tolerate soft foods and liquids.
This is another symptom that’s very common with wisdom teeth coming in, but it doesn’t often resolve itself. Your wisdom teeth are likely impacted if your jaw is stiff, meaning they need to be removed by a dentist.
4. Cracked or Broken Teeth
If you notice that you have a cracked or broken tooth — whether visually or because you’re alerted to it through the pain — it’s time to get it looked at as soon as possible.
Many people crack a tooth and don’t feel any discomfort, so they think it’s not an emergency — but a lot of bacteria can then get into the tooth, meaning it’ll rot faster. It also puts the tooth in a vulnerable position where it may be prone to more cracking and you could lose it altogether if you don’t get it seen as soon as possible.
Missing teeth come with their own problems, so don’t let it get to that stage if you can avoid it.
5. You Have Bad Breath
Many people assume bad breath is a sign of poor tooth care or the wrong food choice, but that’s not always the case. If you have chronic bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of, it could be a sign of a dental emergency.
The smell may be coming from decay.
It’s always a good idea to visit your dentist if you struggle with halitosis, but if it’s in combination with any of the other signs, it’s a big sign of a dental emergency.
6. Your Gums Are Bleeding
Gum disease is pretty common in the US but as long as you visit a dentist every six months, you should be able to keep it under control. However, if your gums are red, swollen, and bleeding every time you use your toothbrush, it’s a big sign your gum disease has progressed.
Late-stage gum disease can cause a whole host of problems, not just in the mouth, but even elsewhere in the body. That’s why it’s considered a dental emergency if it’s getting to a serious stage because you need a good clean before it gets to that point.
7. You Have an Abscess or Ulcer
Sometimes mouth ulcers are normal and will go away after a few days. However, if you have a sore in your mouth that’s persisting or is extremely painful, it might be time to go and see a dentist and check that there’s no other underlying cause.
Abscesses can form after injury to the mouth or oral surgery, so it’s important to make sure that nothing is infected or worse than you realized. It’s better to get something checked out as soon as possible than leave it until it develops into a worse problem.
Don’t Hesitate if You Have a Dental Emergency
If you have a dental emergency on your hands, don’t hesitate to see a professional. Even if you’re unsure, they’ll be able to take a look at the problem and get it sorted out quickly — which is much better than the alternative of leaving the issue to become increasingly worse.
If you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy dentist in Indianapolis, contact us today, and let’s see what we can do for you.
Dr. Holly Austgen, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana reveals what that weird blue light is that your dentist uses, how it works and if there are any risks to your teeth and gums when using it. https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: What is that weird blue light my dentist uses? [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] Transcript Hi everyone. My name is Dr. Austgen from Southeast Family Dental and today I’m going to talk to you about a question we often get here at the office, and that is, what is the blue light that we use and is it dangerous? So what is it? That blue light is a dental curing light. It’s basically a piece of dental equipment that we use to harden or cure our resin or basically, tooth-colored filling materials, as well as some other materials that we use such as cements and bonding agents that we use to restore your teeth back to health. So how does this light work? When fillings are placed in the teeth, they are very soft so that they can be molded to the correct shape and anatomy. When the dentist or the assistant who is placing the filling is happy with the shape and the contour, they will then set the material to make it hard. That’s where the blue light comes in. We press the light, the blue light shines on it, and it will make the material hard as rock, strong enough for you to be able to chew on as soon as you leave. Okay, so here’s the big question. What about the blue light? Everyone wants to know what it is. So I’ll tell you what it’s not. It is not a UV light and it is not a laser. What it is, is a very strong blue light and it’s blue because it falls into the range of the wavelengths under the blue light spectrum. So like I said, it’s not a laser and it’s not a UV light. So it’s not going to cause any damage to your teeth or your gums. The only danger is if you look at the light for too long. It’s kind of similar to looking at the sun for too long. Dentists and assistants who place fillings are the most at risk. That’s why there is an orange filter on the light to protect our eyes. So no need to be concerned about the blue light or the curing light. It’s been a significant advancement in dentistry for us and allows us to place fillings that are hard, exactly the way we want them to be so you’re ready to use your tooth just like you wanted when you leave. Thanks for listening and remember, at Southeast Family Dental, we love to make you smile.
Do you suffer from fears and anxiety when going to the dentist? Or, maybe a trip to the dentist is a scary event for your child, which also stresses you out? Dental fears, anxiety and phobia are extremely common. It’s estimated that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fears. Some people (perhaps up to 20%) experience so much anxiety that they’ll only go to the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary. People experience dental anxiety and fears for various reasons, including: * Previous bad experiences at the dentist’s office. * Fear of pain. * Feeling helpless or not in control of the situation. * Embarrassment about the state of their teeth and gums. Being unfamiliar with the instruments, noises and smells in the dental office. This is especially true for young children. At Southeast Family Dental, we understand how the dentist’s office can cause anxiety and fears. But calming fears isn’t just for kids, some adults need help calming their anxiety at the dentist, too. So a dentist located in Northbrook, IL, has found an ingenious way to do just that. He brings a trained comfort dog into his office. The golden retriever soothes nervous kids and adults alike by comforting them during dental exams. In fact, the golden retriever has a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out exactly who needs him the most. A comfort dog really is an excellent idea to calm dental fears, because animals tend to have a soothing effect on people. Other ideas that dentists may use to calm your fears, include: * Providing you with an iPad and headphones, so you can listen to relaxing music or watch a TV program to distract you. * Offering you a blanket for warmth, comfort and the feeling of security. * Giving you nitrous oxide or other sedatives to help you feel relaxed during dental exams or procedures. If you suffer from dental anxiety and fears, talk to our team at Southeast Family Dental. We can talk to you about what to expect during your appointment and help you find ways to ease your fears. We want to make sure your dental experience is as calm, comfortable and stress-free as possible for you.
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences it at some point. It can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or stressed about a situation. While the occasional feeling of stress is normal, having feelings of stress all the time can take a toll on your health. IMPACT OF STRESS ON ORAL HEALTH Stress can have a major impact on your health, and it can have a similarly major impact on your oral health. Most people have probably experienced an ulcer at some point in their life, and an ulcer is just one example of the way chronic stress can negatively impact your oral and overall health. * When your body is stressed, it releases cortisol, which is a hormone that increases your blood glucose levels. This increase in blood sugar can lead to inflammation, which can trigger the body's immune response to fight off infection or injury. However, when the immune system is overstimulated, it can lead to an increase in gum disease. * Not only can stress increase the chances of developing gum disease, but it can also increase your risk for more serious diseases, such as cancer. This is because your immune system becomes weakened by stress, and compromised health can make it harder for your immune system to fight disease effectively. * Additionally, stress can cause bruxism – an abnormal clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth while sleeping. This can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD causes pain in your jaw that can be chronic. And, since it does affect your smile, it's considered part of your oral health. If you are suffering from this, we may be able to help by finding a custom oral appliance you can wear at night to protect your teeth from damage. We can also recommend other ways to cope with stress and advise you on steps you can take to improve your oral health. WAYS TO MINIMIZE STRESS Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of stress on your body. Regular exercise is one of the best options, as it can help keep your body healthy, strong, and balanced. You should also try to stick to a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water during the day, and try to get enough sleep each night. When you're under a lot of stress, you should make sure to keep up with your regular checkup and cleaning appointments. We can work with you to identify problem areas in your smile and take steps to help you prevent symptoms from getting worse over time. If you're overdue for your annual exam and cleaning, then it's time to give us a call to schedule your next appointment. We can be reached at (317) 359-8000. Our dentist's office is located in Indianapolis, IN, and we look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy for many years to come!
Southeast Family Dental is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Bohnert and Dr. Laura Geiger have been selected by a vote of their peers to be Top Dentists, www.usatopdentists.com. and featured in the “Best of Indy” December issue of of Indianapolis Monthly. Indianapolis Monthly December 2018Dr. Bohnert is a 10-year winner and Dr. Geiger is a 3-year winner of the Top Dentist award. This honor is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which dentists and specialists throughout Indiana cast votes on the abilities of other dentists and specialists. Inclusion in Top Dentists is considered a singular honor. Dr. Laura Geiger responded to the announcement. “We are thrilled to have been voted Top Dentists. This honor shows us that we are meeting our mission to change the way you feel about going to the dentist, while giving you more reasons to smile.”
Drinking water is essential to your health. Water helps to transport nutrients in your body, regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, helps build muscle, digests food and improves your skin complexion. And, yes, water really is healthy for your teeth, especially if it’s fluoridated. Some reasons why water is beneficial to your teeth include: * Tap water may contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in almost all water supplies. Also fluoride can be added to a town’s water supply. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, it has been shown to reduce the rate of cavities by as much as 60%. However, it’s important to note that not all bottled waters contain fluoride. * Water naturally rinses your teeth and keep them clean. When you drink water, especially after eating, it helps wash away food particles and acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, if you can’t brush your teeth while you’re out, drink a glass of water and swish the water around in your mouth to help clean your teeth until you can get home and brush. * Drinking water helps to decrease the pH level in your mouth. The neutral pH level in your mouth is 7.0. When you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages, the pH level can drop below 5.0. Too much acid can cause bad bacteria to grow, leading to tooth decay, which occurs when the pH level in your mouth is 5.5 or lower. But drinking water can help neutralize the effects of acid in your mouth. * Water helps alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. When your salivary glands don’t make enough saliva in your mouth, dry mouth can occur. You need an adequate supply of saliva to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria and to wash away food particles. Otherwise, a mouth that’s too dry can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Drink water as part of your daily dental health routine As you see, drinking water really is healthy for your teeth. So make drinking water a regular part of your daily dental health routine, in addition to brushing and flossing. But be careful of some seltzer waters. Some are advertised as water, but contain additional sweeteners that make them just as harmful as soda. Also, they are more acidic than flat water so should be limited due to their ability to erode teeth. Also, remember to schedule your biannual dental checkups with Southeast Family Dental by calling us at (317) 359-8000.