Are You Prepared for These Dangerously Common Dental Emergencies?
1. Knocked Out Tooth
If you have a tooth knocked out, otherwise known as a tooth avulsion, your first reaction might be to panic -which most people would in most dental emergencies- but if you handle the situation correctly and follow these crucial steps immediately after the incident, you may be able to save the tooth.
- Carefully handle the tooth by the crown. Do not touch the root.
- Rinse the tooth very gently with water or saline solution. Do not scrub the tooth.
- Reposition the tooth in the socket immediately, if possible.
- Gently push the tooth back into the socket using your fingers, hold it in place using your fingers, or by lightly biting down on it.
If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, follow these next steps until you can get
to your dentist.
- Place the tooth in a container of milk if possible. Salt water will also work.
- Do not dry off or store the tooth in a towel or tissue. The cells on the root of the tooth need to remain wet to stay alive.
- For best results see your dentists within 30 minutes of the accident.
Keep in mind these factors that determine successful re-implantation of the tooth: how long the tooth has been out of the mouth, the condition of the tooth and periodontal tissues (what attaches the tooth to the bone), and how well the tooth is taken care of while it is out of the mouth. If you follow the steps above, your chance of success will increase.
2. Broken or Fractured Tooth
The cause of a broken or fractured tooth can vary. The most common causes include biting into something hard (solid candy, ice, etc.), an accident, grinding your teeth, or tooth decay. It can be incredibly painful and stressful, but remain calm and follow the steps below.
- Save as much of the tooth as you possibly can.
- Carefully rinse your mouth with warm salt water to remove any harmful bacteria or debris. This will help prevent infection.
- To reduce swelling, place an ice pack or cold compress on the outside of your mouth over the chipped or fractured tooth.
- Get to your dentist as soon as possible.
If you’re experiencing copious amounts of pain and are unable to see your dentist you may want to go to urgent care. If the pain is manageable, you can use temporary dental cement on the chipped tooth until you can see your dentist, which you can find at most market stores.
3. Intense Tooth Pain
No matter how meticulous you are about your oral hygiene, there’s always the possibility of experiencing the discomfort of a toothache. A cavity is usually the culprit of tooth pain, but there are several other probable causes that are more severe that can fall under the category of dental emergencies. If you are feeling a persistent, throbbing pain, you may have an infection that should be taken care of right away. Until you can get to your dentist, use the following tips.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Use dental floss to remove any food that may be lodged in your teeth.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the outside cheek if there is any swelling.
- Avoid placing an Aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth; it could burn the gum tissue and cause more pain.
- See your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose the issue and begin treatment.
If your toothache isn’t severe, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist. Waiting until the pain gets worse is not a good idea. It’s important to have the issue evaluated and treated as soon as possible, so you don’t end up with a worse situation.
4. Soft Tissue Trauma
The soft tissue in your mouth includes your tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips. These tissues are delicate and are often harmed when you receive injuries to the orofacial area. This can include accidentally biting them, if you fall, eating or drinking something that is too hot, or chewing on a hard object. These dental emergencies can cause bruising or laceration that will result in bleeding. To control the bleeding until you’re able to see a dentist (if need be) use the following suggestions.
- Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution. ½ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water.
- Use a piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site.
- Hold the gauze in place for 15-20 minutes.
- To help relieve pain or swelling, apply an ice pack or cold compress to the outside mouth or cheek of the affected area.
If the bleeding does not stop, see your dentist immediately; continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated. Remember that if the injury is quite severe, you should head directly to the emergency room. Serious circumstances may require stitches or surgery.
5. Abscess Tooth or Gum
There are two different types of oral abscess’ that you can get that will fall under dental emergencies:
- Tooth Abscess: Also called a periodontal abscess. It occurs inside the tooth when your nerve is dead or dying. It can appear at the tip of the tooth’s root. It can cause redness of the mouth and face, swelling, gum inflammation. You may experience difficulty swallowing, or opening your mouth, it may be tender to the touch, and it can also cause major pain. It’s possible for this to spread to the surrounding bone.
- Gum Abscess: This can cause a bubble-like area inside of the mouth that will usually resemble a pimple or a cyst. It will usually fill with pus and cause lots of pain and swelling. A gum abscess can happen when the inside of your mouth is damaged or irritated and becomes susceptible to the spread of bacteria, resulting in an infection.
It’s critical to see your dentist right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or see signs of an abscess. If left untreated, the abscess can spread and lead to serious health problems. To relieve any pain or swelling before you can get an appointment with your dentist, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
Now you can stay calm when dental emergencies come up. Keep in mind that a broken jaw or a blow to the head is dangerous and will require a visit to the emergency room as soon as possible. If there are fractured teeth or oral injuries as a result of an accident, they will be treated after you have been cleared by the emergency room or physician. Keep up with our Blog for more dental information on how to keep your oral hygiene in pristine condition.