What to do in a Dental Emergency
Losing a tooth or having severe dental pain can make it obvious you have a dental emergency. However, sometimes you might not realize the symptoms you are experiencing also require immediate attention. We’ve provided some of the most common emergency scenarios to help you navigate these easy dental emergency tips.
Noticeable swelling of the face could mean you have a dental infection. Infection is usually accompanied by pain and is a sign of infection in your tooth, your gums, or even your jaw bone. Call our office right away as infections tend to worsen.
Waiting will allow the infection to progress, and if not taken care of, the infection can spread and even lead to death. Make sure you remain upright, even if you’re sleeping. Infections tend to cause dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
Tooth Knocked Out
If you act quickly, you might be able to save your lost tooth. Pick your tooth up, carefully avoiding touching the root. Adult teeth can be placed back in place gently. First, carefully rinse the root with water without touching or rubbing the root. You can then gently put your tooth back into place.
Look at the tooth on the other side so you make sure your tooth is facing the right way. If you’re uncertain how to do this, you can place the tooth in a glass of milk to transport it to the dentist. Do not use water. Then call our office to request an emergency appointment. If the tooth is reimplanted within the hour, it has a very good chance of surviving.
Broken, Cracked, or Chipped Tooth
There are many things that can lead to damage such as breaks, cracks, and chips to your teeth. Sometimes you know how your tooth was damaged, such as an accident or biting down on something hard. Other times, you might notice your tooth feels sharp or that the appearance of your tooth has changed. This type of damage is often free of pain or sensitivity if the inner structure of your tooth is not exposed.
Although it might not hurt, it is not uncommon to experience pain from cold and heat. This sensitivity usually goes away once your saliva remineralizes your tooth to help insulate and protect the sensitive area. You should always contact our office when you notice damage to your teeth. We can determine if a filling is required, or in the case of a larger break or crack an extraction, root canal, or crown.
Bleeding from the mouth during brushing or flossing is an indication you have gingivitis or gum disease. However, blood in your saliva could be a symptom of something more serious including some types of cancer. The mouth protects itself from bleeding quite well, and if you’re experiencing bleeding without a clear sign such as a cut, you should speak to your dentist.
If you’re bleeding and it doesn’t stop, you should seek emergency care. This is especially important if you’ve had dental surgery and the bleeding continues into the next day and night. Bleeding following surgery will require you to keep your head elevated especially during sleep.
A gum abscess looks like a pimple on your gums. It can be yellow, clear, white, or red and is an indication either your tooth or your gum is infected. You should call us to make an emergency appointment as soon as you notice an abscess, as this could require antibiotics to first clear up the infection, and then you could potentially require a root canal or extraction depending on the seriousness of the infection.
We will take an x-ray to determine what you’ll require. In the meantime, do not “pop” the abscess and continue brushing and flossing as usual.
If you’re experiencing ongoing tooth pain, hot and cold sensitivity, and tenderness when eating, you could have a dead or dying tooth. You can also have a pulpal abscess which can be corrected with a root canal. Any tooth pain should be examined immediately, especially when an abscess is possible.
There are many causes of tooth pain from decay to cavities and gum disease to teeth grinding. The same goes for pain while biting. Give us a call to set up an appointment as soon as you can (the amount of pain will help guide you on your sense of urgency) and in the meantime, you can help reduce inflammation by taking an anti-inflammatory three times a day. While waiting for your appointment, avoid chewing on the tender area to avoid causing more pain or damage.
Injury and Accidents
If you experience an accident that affects your teeth or mouth, the damage can vary greatly. From a broken jaw to lost teeth, you will want to visit the emergency department as soon as possible.
If damage to your teeth is clear, you can follow the same steps mentioned above for lost, chipped, and broken teeth. If you’re worried about your jaw, apply ice and use an anti-inflammatory until you can be seen by your dentist or doctor.
Dental Procedure Injury
It is possible for an injury to occur during dental procedures. Tongue, gum, and cheek lacerations are not overly common but can be made undetected by your oral surgeon. If they do notice injury, they will address the problem right away, including making a few stitches if required.
However, if you have pain or noticeable cuts in your mouth, when you get home, it’s best to speak to your oral surgeon immediately as stitches might be required to avoid infection or further damage.
Something Between Your Teeth
Having something caught between your teeth can prove to be more than frustrating. If something remains in your teeth, it can lead to inflammation and pain. The easiest thing to do is to try dislodging it with floss.
Often tying a few knots in the floss will add the pressure needed to get something like a popcorn husk or seed removed. If you can’t get it out, give us a call and we can remove it before infection sets in.
Knowing how to recognize a dental emergency will help you take the right steps to avoid further damage or illness. If you would like to book an appointment with our family-friendly dental office, please call (519) 265-5115 or contact us here for more information.