Dealing with a dental emergency can be frightening and painful. Knowing what to do if you experience severe tooth pain, chips or damage to teeth, or trauma to the mouth and jaws can help minimize further issues. Being prepared and taking quick action increases the chances of saving the tooth and avoiding complications. Here is what you need to know about handling common dental emergencies until a dentist can see you.
A sudden, severe toothache often signals a dental emergency. Extreme sensitivity, throbbing pain, or pain when eating or drinking indicates a problem needing urgent care. The first step is thoroughly rinsing the mouth with warm salt water to remove any food or debris trapped near the damaged tooth. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can temporarily alleviate pain and swelling. Another option is applying a cold compress to the outside of the cheek near the affected tooth to reduce inflammation. These remedies provide only short-term relief until a dentist can diagnose and properly treat the underlying cause of pain.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
Chips or cracks in the tooth enamel pose a risk for infection of the soft inner pulp. Rinse the mouth out gently to clear it of any fragments. Try to find broken pieces so the dentist can attempt to reattach them. If the fracture results in a sharp edge that is cutting your tongue, cover it temporarily with wax or sugar-free chewing gum to smooth it out. Do not try to glue pieces back into place yourself. Avoid eating or drinking anything hot, cold, sweet, or acidic, as this causes severe pain to the exposed dentin. The dentist may be able to smooth the edge or apply a filling, crown, or cap to protect the tooth. If the pulp is infected, a root canal may be required to clean out diseased tissue and fill the space. See a dentist as soon as possible to repair the damage from cracks and prevent further issues properly. Chips and cracks can often be restored by a dentist if treated quickly
.Knocked Out Tooth
If a tooth gets completely knocked out, act quickly to preserve the tooth. Avoid touching the root, and gently rinse off the tooth if it is dirty. Try placing it back in the socket, ensuring it is facing correctly. If this isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk, between the cheek and gum, or even under the tongue for short-term storage. These provide the best chances for successful reimplantation. See an emergency dentist immediately to have the best chance of saving the tooth.
Broken Jaw or Facial Bones
Blunt force or trauma to the face that results in extreme swelling, bleeding, or deformity requires prompt medical attention. Seek emergency care at a hospital to check for fractures and properly realign the jaw or facial bones. Follow up with an oral surgeon for continued care and to monitor for complications. In the meantime, eat only soft foods until fully healed.
A pimple-like lesion on the gums likely indicates an abscess, a severe infection at the root. Abscesses require antibiotics and draining by a dentist to prevent spreading. Swelling of the cheek or cheek area also signals emergency dental care to address the abscess before it spreads or causes further tooth or gum damage. Rinse with antiseptic mouthwash and limit chewing on that side until treated.
Lost Filling or Dental Crown
If a filling or dental crown falls out, keep the piece if possible and call your dentist to schedule a repair appointment. Use dental wax or chewing gum to fill the hole temporarily and prevent debris from getting inside. If the lost restoration leaves a rough or sharp edge, file it down with an emery board or chew on the opposite side until repaired. Avoid sticky, hard foods that could further loosen or damage the tooth.
Knowing how to respond quickly to dental mishaps can minimize further injury in an emergency situation. Be prepared and keep emergency dentist contact information handy, just in case. Taking prompt action improves the likelihood of saving the tooth and preventing complications. Bayswater Dentist offers urgent dental care services and emergency appointments when dental issues require immediate attention. Our experienced dentists can efficiently diagnose problems and quickly get you out of dental discomfort.