Links To And Excerpts From Emergency Medicine Cases’ “Ep 185 Atraumatic Dental Emergencies”

In today’s post, I reviewed, linked to, and excerpt from Emergency Medicine CasesEp 185 Atraumatic Dental Emergencies*.

*Helman, A. Ngo, R. Nash, R. Atraumatic Dental Emergencies. Emergency Medicine Cases. August, 2023. Accessed August 18, 2023.

All that follows is from the above resource.

Here’s the problem: About 1% of all visits to the ED are for dental complaints, yet most of us have little training on how to recognize and manage dental emergencies. There are a multitude of reasons to explain the hoards of dental patients showing up in our EDs, not to mention the cost of seeing a dentist. Regardless, we need to know how to recognize and manage dental emergencies to best take care of our patients. After some suggestions from listeners and various colleagues to do an episode on dental emergencies, and learning more about dental emergencies myself, I realized, that the simple algorithm I apply to most patients I see in the ED with atraumatic dental pain  – doesn’t look like deep space infection or something I can drain -> analgesics + antibiotics -> send to dentist, was inadequate. In this Part 1 of our 2-part podcast series on dental emergencies, with the help of Dr. Chris Nash and Dr. Richard Ngo, we tackle these atraumatic dental emergencies: infections ranging from dental caries to pulpitis and gingivitis to dental abscess, cellulitis and deep space infection, as well as acute necrotizing gingivitis, pericoronitis and dry socket. These all have specific clinical characteristics and require specific management…

Dental infections

Progression of dental infections in dental emergencies

It is important to understand the usual progression of dental infections as the management changes as the infection progresses. Simple dental anatomy helps to understand this progression.

Dental cary: a bacterial disease of teeth that demineralizes tooth enamel and dentine by acid produced during the fermentation of dietary carbohydrates by oral bacteria. It is characterized by loss of enamel and discoloration of the tooth.


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