What to Do in a Dental Emergency
Many of us have been in this position, where a severe toothache shows no signs of getting better or have felt a tooth crumble away when we bite into something hard. Dental trauma can be even more upsetting, for example, taking a blow to the mouth that partially or completely knocks out a tooth.
No matter the dental emergency1, McLoughlin Dental is here to assist you and your family. Our dentist Dr. Donald Nimz always makes every effort to see people in pain or discomfort as quickly as possible, usually on the same day. Also, when you contact our dental office, you can speak to our friendly and experienced dental team who will offer useful advice to help you cope with the dental emergency more easily, just until you can get in to see us.
In the meantime, it can be enormously helpful to know what to do if you do develop a dental problem or injury. Listed below are some of the most common dental problems and how to cope with them immediately.
First, try gently flossing around the painful tooth in case it is being pushed out of position by impacted food. Afterward, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress against the outside of your mouth to relieve any swelling. Use over-the-counter painkillers to help with any discomfort, but never place any painkillers directly on the gums nearest the tooth because these can burn the gum tissue. Make an appointment to see us as soon as you can because a toothache is frequently a sign of a tooth infection. The sooner we can treat it, the more likely we can save your tooth, and of course, we can get rid of that nasty toothache!
Broken or Chipped Teeth
Save any pieces of teeth and bring them with you to your appointment. In the meantime, rinse your mouth using warm water to help it feel more comfortable. If your mouth is bleeding, apply firm pressure to the injured area using a piece of clean gauze for approximately 10 minutes to help stop the bleeding. A cold compress applied to the outside of the mouth will help bring down any swelling and relieves pain. Make an appointment to come and see us as soon as you can, even if the chip is only minor and isn’t causing any discomfort. Any chip in a tooth can let in disease-causing bacteria and could ultimately result in a large cavity or a severe tooth infection.
If you or someone close to you knocks out a tooth, you have approximately half an hour to an hour to get emergency dental care to try and save the tooth. Retrieve the tooth making sure you hold it carefully by its crown and rinse off any visible dirt. Don’t remove any loose tissues. Try to reinsert the tooth ensuring it’s facing the right way around but don’t force it back into place. Hold it in place with a clean finger or bite gently on a clean tissue and come to our dental office straightaway. Otherwise, if you can’t reinsert the tooth, store it in a little milk or saliva, or even inside your cheek (taking care not to swallow it) and come and see us immediately. It is better not to store the tooth in water, but if there is no other option, put a pinch of table salt into the water. If a child knocks out a primary tooth don’t try to reinsert it because it could damage the adult tooth underneath but bring them to see us immediately.
Partially Knocked-out Tooth
A partially knocked-out tooth also requires emergency dental care, so make sure you visit us straightaway. In the meantime, use a cold compress on the outside of the mouth to relieve pain and take over-the-counter painkillers if needed.
If you lose a filling, you can use over-the-counter dental cement to fill the cavity temporarily. Otherwise, place a small piece of sugar-free gum into the cavity. This will help to protect the tooth against unwanted sensitivity. It’s crucial to get a filling replaced as soon as you can because otherwise the tooth is exposed to bacteria in the mouth and it could become infected and very painful.
If you lose a crown, make an appointment to see Dr. Nimz as soon as you can and bring the crown with you if you still have it. In the meantime, if the tooth feels sensitive, you can reduce sensitivity by applying a little clove oil to the tooth. You’ll find clove oil in the spice section of your grocery store. Another option is to use over-the-counter temporary dental cement, a dab of toothpaste or denture adhesive to temporarily fix the crown back in place. Please, whatever you do don’t use super glue or any other household glue. These tend to be toxic and will cause tremendous damage to the tooth and crown.
A dental abscess is a serious infection that can develop in the root of a tooth or in between the teeth and gums. One common sign that you have a dental abscess is noticing a swelling on your gum that looks a bit like a pimple, and it is most likely painful. Using a warm salt water rinse will help to ease the pain and encourages the pus to the surface. Dental abscesses require urgent care, especially as the infection can potentially affect your general health. Always seek emergency care if you develop a fever or facial swelling, or if you feel unwell.
Injuries to Your Cheeks, Gums, Lips, and Tongue
An injury to the soft tissues in your mouth can cause bleeding. Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution and use a moist tea bag or piece of gauze to apply pressure to the injury. Hold it in place for 15 to 20 minutes, but if the bleeding doesn’t stop come and see us immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. Continue applying pressure to the wound until you can be treated.
Dental emergencies are upsetting, but please try not to worry too much because there is always a lot we can do to help. Even if a tooth is severely injured or is missing entirely, there is always a solution. The latest restorative treatments will invisibly mend damaged teeth, while implant dentistry is a long-lasting solution for tooth loss.