If you have a dental emergency, such as a severe toothache, a broken tooth, or a lost filling, you may be wondering what to do and where to go for help. Dental emergencies can be stressful and painful, but they don't have to ruin your day.
Here are a few dental emergencies and some information on how to handle them until you reach your dentist's office.
A toothache can have many causes, such as decay, infection, injury, or gum disease. To ease the pain, rinse your mouth with lukewarm water and floss gently to remove any debris that may be caught in your interdental spaces. You can also apply an ice pack to your cheek or jaw to reduce any swelling and inflammation. Avoid putting any painkillers or aspirin directly on your gums, as this can burn your tissue and cause more damage.
If you break a tooth due to trauma, such as a fall, a sports injury, or biting on something hard, you should act quickly to salvage the tooth and prevent an infection from developing. Rinse your mouth with water and collect any pieces of the tooth that you can find. Apply a piece of gauze or a tea bag to the bleeding area and hold it for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. You can also place a cold compress against your cheek or jaw to minimize the swelling and pain.
If you have a dislodged tooth, also known as an avulsed tooth, it is important to act quickly and calmly. Here are some steps you can take to increase the chances of saving the tooth:
- Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part that is visible in the mouth), not by the root. Avoid touching or cleaning the root, as this can damage the cells that are essential for bone reattachment.
- Rinse the tooth gently with milk or saline solution (not water) to remove any dirt or debris. Do not scrub, dry, or wrap the tooth in anything.
- If possible, try to place the dislodged tooth back into its socket and hold it in place with your finger or bite down gently on a piece of gauze. Make sure the tooth is facing the right way and do not force it into the socket.
- If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, put it in a small container with milk, saline solution, or saliva. Do not store it in water, as this can cause the root to swell and prevent reattachment.
In cases of dental emergencies, it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible. If you believe you have a dental emergency, contact the office of an emergency dentist in your local area.