While there are precautions we can take to avoid injuries to our teeth, dental emergencies still can, and do, happen. A dental emergency is any problem that requires immediate treatment in order to save a tooth, stop bleeding, or alleviate serious pain. As traumatic as pain or injuries to the mouth and teeth can be, it’s important to remain calm and act fast. Here are a few tips to keep in mind should you experience a dental emergency.
Act fast: Call your dentist or an emergency room
Time is of the essence in a dental emergency. Calling your dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible can help you avoid further issues, especially if you’ve cracked or knocked out a tooth or may be suffering from a severe infection or abscess.
I lost a tooth. What now?
If you knock out a permanent or adult tooth, be sure to keep it moist at all times until you’re able to see your dentist. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. Pay careful attention to the direction you’re inserting the tooth, as some patients may put the tooth in backwards by mistake. If you’re not able to re-insert the tooth, try placing it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or in a tooth preservation product that’s approved by the ADA. Then, make a beeline to your dentist’s office, posthaste.
Dealing with a cracked tooth
Cracked or chipped teeth can be a concern, especially if you’re experiencing pain. The first thing to do is cleanse the area by rinsing your mouth with warm water. Next, place a cold compress on your face to keep the swelling down. And lastly, you guessed it, beat feet it to your dentist’s office to get a professional opinion.
Pain in the mouth
Toothaches or pain while chewing can be troublesome, indeed. While common issues such as sensitive teeth, drinking hot or cold liquids, or exposed roots, can cause some toothaches, other times mouth discomfort can be the sign of an underlying health issue. In order to rule out a more serious or potentially life-threatening issue such as an abscess, be sure to talk to your dentist about any aching or abnormal sensations in your mouth as soon as possible. Your dentist can also recommend the best products or procedures to help prevent or relieve pain or irritation of the mouth.
Other dental emergencies or concerns
Dentists do a lot more than look at x-rays of your teeth, repair cavities, and remind you to floss. Anytime you have a concern with your mouth—from bleeding that won’t stop, to unusual swelling or sores in your mouth, concerns after a fall, or even something stuck in your teeth—your dentist is there to help. A quick assessment from your dentist could put your mind at ease and prevent an issue from becoming a bigger issue.
Avoiding a dental emergency
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; or in this case, discomfort and a trip to the dentist. By taking some basic precautions, you can greatly reduce your odds of experiencing a dental emergency. For starters, avoid chewing hard objects such as ice, hard candy or popcorn kernels, especially if you have cracked or sensitive teeth. Always wear a mouth guard when participating in sports where you may experience deliberate or accidental contact with your mouth. And never, ever use your teeth as a replacement for modern tools like scissors or bottle openers.
The next time you have a dental emergency, call Dr. Phil Hodge Dentistry as soon as possible at (253) 852-4746. We’ll act quickly to help you look, and feel, your best again.