What Is a Dental Emergency?
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.
Will I Need Emergency Dentistry?
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:
- Pain that won’t let you sleep or eat
- Knocked-out teeth
- Loose or broken braces
- Chips or cracks in your teeth, or broken teeth
- Fallen-out crowns or fillings
- “Pimples” or abscess on the gumlines
What Should You Do in a Dental Emergency?
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.
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can follow some of the first-aid advice in the section above. But your best move is to call us, we will get a detailed understanding of your situation and make the best recommendation.
You can take Tylenol or Advil unless your have counter-indications from your doctor, but try not to take Aspirin as it will thin out your blood, and worsen the bleeding in case you need surgery. Please note – usually the pain is nerve-related, and the medications won’t stop it, just relieve it. You should see a dentist to permanently stop the pain.
Not if you have the possibility of seeing a dentist. If you can’t see a dentist – you can go to the ER, most likely they can help relieve the pain. But please note, it’s not recommended for any doctor other than a dentist to perform dental work. You should see a dentist as soon as you can.
Untreated broken teeth can lead to bacteria collections, infections, and abscess. It can also damage the nerve which will lead to a more painful treatment of root canal.
The abscess can rupture, which will relieve the pain slightly, but dental treatment is required to stop the infection from spreading. Otherwise the infection can spread to your jaw, neck and it can even turn into Sepsis, an infection that spreads throughout the whole body and is life-threatening.