Any dental problem that includes bleeding, severe pain, or damaged teeth and requires immediate attention to solve – is a dental emergency. Usually, these problems are caused by accidents, fights, or cavities that just got worse. Severe infections are also considered dental emergencies.
The role of Emergency Dentistry is to preserve your natural teeth and prevent further damage. As an example, a knocked-out tooth can still be put back in, but only within a short period of time after the accident. Doing so will prevent you from needing an implant, which is both more expensive, and can cause more problems down the line. In the same way, if you act fast – you can prevent further damage for other cases of emergency.
In case you experience any of the following, get immediate emergency dental care:
These situations can be frightening; however, panicking won’t make it better. Please remain calm, perform the following first aid steps, and get emergency dental care as soon as you can.
For severe pain, you can take ibuprofen (like Advil) or acetaminophen (like Tylenol). Avoid taking an Aspirin if possible. It is an anticoagulant which will thin out your blood, and in case you need surgery it will worsen the bleeding. To ease the inflammation – you can apply an ice pack, or a cold compress. If you’re going to take a pain reliever – follow either the doctor’s advice or the instruction on the package. Remember or write down what medication you’re taking, the dosage, and at which time you took it.
When a whole natural tooth is knocked out – try to put it back into the socket. But before you do – make sure you handle the tooth by its crown (the part you would use to chew) not the root. This will prevent the re-attachment cells on the root from dying. If the tooth is clean – gently put it back in. If not – you can rinse it, but do not scrub it. In case putting the tooth back in is not possible – place it in a cup of warm milk. The sooner you get to a dentist – the more likely it is to save the tooth. Call us right away to get immediate help.
If your tooth broke in two or more pieces, first – find and save all the bigger pieces. Then rinse your mouth with warm water to wash away small pieces. Apply a sterile gauze on the area in case there is bleeding. To relieve some pain and swelling – you can apply an ice pack or a cold compress. When done, call us to get immediate help in restoring the tooth, and prevent further damage.
In case of an abscess, create a mild saltwater solution, about half a teaspoon of salt for 8 ounces of water. Use it to rinse your mouth several times a day (until you can see a dentist), this should relieve some pain and draw the pus toward the surface. The abscess can damage the tissue in surrounding teeth, and it can also spread to the rest of your body when left untreated. To prevent that – call us and get immediate dental care.
If you can’t see a dentist right away – get some orthodontic wax (available in most drug stores), and use it to fill the hole left by the fallen-out filling. Orthodontic wax can be molded to the hole because it is soft, and it will protect the tooth from bacteria (you should clean and dry the tooth first). However, this is only a temporary solution, and it comes with risks. To fix the filling permanently and safely – Call us as soon as you can.
For a simple jaw trauma – apply an ice pack, do not eat solid foods, and call us when you can, to determine the best course of action for you. But if the jaw may be broken – do your best not to eat or talk unnecessarily, and call us right away, or ask a friend to make the call, to receive immediate care.