Know How To Handle These 3 Dental Emergencies Before They Happen
What to Do During a Dental Emergency
If you have a head injury, severe laceration, or chest pain, you know it’s time to head to the local emergency center; but do you know what to do in a dental emergency?
Roughly 2 million people visit emergency centers yearly for dental-related injuries or pain. The three most common reasons for visits are infected tooth pulp, dental cavities, and tooth loss.
You can prevent the majority of dental emergencies by taking great care of your teeth at home, seeing your dentist every six months, and scheduling additional appointments as soon as pain or sensitivity develops. You can also minimize dental damage by knowing what to do if you or a loved one experiences a dental emergency.
Here’s what to do in three common dental emergency scenarios.
1. Knocked Out Tooth
Step 1: Locate the tooth and attempt to replace it.
It’s common to spit out a knocked-out tooth, so if this happens, locate it immediately and pick it up by the crown. Do your best not to touch the tooth’s root at any point.
If the tooth is clean or still in the mouth, gently attempt to place it back in the socket. Do not force the tooth back into the socket; stop if the tooth doesn’t easily slide into place. Instead, keep the tooth in the mouth, against the inner cheek, to keep it moist.
If the tooth is dirty or can’t be held in the mouth, rinse it with water and place it in a cup of milk or clean water.
Step 2: Use gauze or a clean cloth to stem any bleeding.
The best way to get bleeding under control is by gently biting down on some rolled-up gauze or a clean cloth. A paper towel or a napkin will also suffice in an emergency. If possible, avoid using something delicate like facial tissue or toilet paper as it will often break apart and leave fibers in the wound.
Step 3: Head to an emergency dentist ASAP.
Get in a car and head to the closest emergency dentist. You can find a list of emergency dentists in Dallas here. We highly recommend you keep the number and location of an emergency dentist on your phone or printed in your home’s first aid kit.
If it’s impossible to see an emergency dentist due to your location, head to a general emergency room (ER) facility instead.
Do not attempt to drive yourself anywhere if you feel dizzy, nauseous, or if you’re in shock. In fact, even if you feel okay, it’s always best to ask someone to drive you to the emergency dentist rather than risk driving yourself.
2. Cracked or Broken Tooth
Step 1: Remove any large pieces and rinse your mouth.
If a piece of your broken tooth is still in your mouth, carefully remove it. Large pieces of a broken tooth can be saved in water or milk, just like if you knocked out a tooth. Smaller pieces or chips are often unable to be saved, but you may choose to keep them if you’re unsure.
Once the large fragments have been removed, swish out your mouth with a saltwater solution of one teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water. If salt isn’t available, use clean warm water. Do not use mouthwash or any other solution, as the ingredients and alcohol can hurt.
Step 2: Assess the damage and contact your dentist.
Take a look at your tooth in the mirror and see what has happened. Consider how much pain you’re feeling as well. Emergency dental care will be necessary if your tooth has shattered or completely cracked in half. The same applies to severe pain.
If the tooth has only a moderate crack, break, or chip and you’re not in severe pain, you may be able to wait to see your normal dentist the same day or the following day. Call them right away and see what they recommend.
Your dentist will be able to remove any infection or decay and restore your tooth with a filling, crown, or similar solution.
3. Severe Tooth Pain
Step 1: Assess the pain level and potential causes.
Toothaches feel terrible, but pain levels can give you valuable insight into why it might be happening. A moderate toothache may be triggered by decay beginning to reach the sensitive pulp but doesn’t require a trip to the emergency dentist. A severe toothache that is overwhelming and uncontrolled absolutely requires emergency dental care as it could be a sign of an abscess.
Step 2: Floss and brush your teeth, if possible.
As soon as you feel a toothache happening, thoroughly floss and brush. Sometimes pain can be exacerbated or caused by stuck food debris in the teeth pressing into the gums. Cleaning the mouth can also remove an acidic residue from food or beverages. Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can be very soothing and remove bacteria.
Step 3: Take a pain reliever and contact your dentist.
Take the recommended dose of an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever or anti-inflammatory for moderate tooth pain. Call your dentist and report your toothache to see if you can get in the same or the following day. If your dentist isn’t available, you can check to see if another local dentist or urgent dental care facility can fit you in.
Step 4: Know the signs of abscess and act accordingly.
Dental abscesses are serious dental and medical emergencies. Left untreated, an abscess can become a life-threatening situation. The most common symptoms of an abscessed tooth include intense pain, redness in the mouth, swollen gums and face, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and a fever.
If you suspect you have a dental abscess, you need emergency care as soon as possible. Go to an emergency dentist or ER facility immediately.
Urgent Dental Care at Dallas Cosmetic Dental
Dallas Cosmetic Dental isn’t an emergency dental office, but we will gladly help in any way we can during our normal office hours. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, we will do our best to fit you in for a same-day urgent care visit. We’re also available for follow-up care and restorative solutions to repair any damage after your dental emergency. Schedule an appointment with your favorite dentist in Park Cities Dallas today.