Know what to do in a dental emergency!
It seems like dental emergencies often strike after-hours or in unexpected surroundings and circumstances. So, while Dr. E makes every effort to be as available as possible to her patients, we still want you to know what to do if and when a dental emergency strikes. Be sure to read on for an important roundup of common dental emergencies and tips to help you remain calm and take the necessary steps to relieve symptoms until you can see your dentist for further treatment.
Emergency #1: Severe Toothache.
Ouch! The pain can be relentless. So, the first thing to do is to thoroughly rinse and cleanse your mouth with warm water. Gently floss the teeth to remove any lodged food particles. Be sure you do NOT put aspirin or another painkiller near the tooth as it may cause burning around the gum tissue. Instead, use cold compresses to relieve swelling and contact your dentist as soon as possible for further relief and treatment.
Emergency #2: Tooth Trauma.
Whether it’s a knocked out or cracked tooth, tooth trauma can quickly escalate into tooth drama! We understand that it’s painful and scary when something unexpected like this occurs. But it’s also important to remain calm. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, try to place the tooth back in the socket if you can (without touching the root). If this isn’t doable, it’s ideal to keep the tooth moist until you can get to your dentist’s office. Some dentists suggest placing the tooth in a cup of milk. In the case of a cracked tooth, save any pieces and immediately rinse the mouth with warm water. Apply cold compresses as needed to keep swelling down. And, of course, see your dentist ASAP!
Emergency #3: Object Stuck in Mouth.
Uh oh! Is there a foreign object stuck in your mouth? It happens… especially during hard falls or contact sports. Don’t panic! Instead, try to gently remove the object using floss – NOT sharp instruments. We repeat – no sharp instruments — you don’t want to risk cutting or scratching your gums or teeth. Let your dentist handle it for you instead. Or, depending on the incident and the object in question, visit the ER if necessary.
Emergency #4: Lost Filling or Crown.
Dentists see their fair share of this, especially in older patients. Until you can see the dentist, you may try a home remedy such as gently sticking a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity. Dental cements are also available at your local pharmacy for a temporary fix. If a crown has fallen out, make every effort to bring the crown with you to the dentist. Clove oil (also sold at your local pharmacy) can also be applied to ease tooth pain until your trusted dentist steps in.
Emergency #5: Tooth Abscess.
Anyone who has experienced an abscess knows they are NO fun. They are essentially infections that occur around the tooth’s root, causing inflammation and pain. If left untreated, abscesses can damage surrounding teeth and tissue, and even spread to other parts of the body. An abscess is often visible on the gum in the form of a swollen pimple that is painful to the touch. Until you can seek relief from your dentist, patients can temporarily minimize pain or discomfort by rinsing the mouth with a saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon of mild table salt in 8 ounces of water) multiple times per day. But don’t delay – get to your dentist quickly for permanent relief.
It’s important to note that the above tips are only temporary remedies. Ignoring a dental issue or emergency can greatly increase the risk of permanent damage, along with the possibility of time-consuming and costly dental treatment down the road.
It goes without saying that we don’t wish a dental emergency on any of our patients! But just remember… if you find yourself facing a dental emergency, remain calm, contact your dentist ASAP, and use the above tips to seek temporary relief.
Dr. E is prepared to take on dental emergencies after hours. Just call the office phone 480-494-2435 and the message will direct you to a quick response.