Dealing with a Dental Emergency

tooth-acheEver suffered a horrendous tooth ache and did not know what to do about it?  The care and maintenance of our mouths can be critical to the overall well-being of our health. It can affect us in numerous ways every day. Ever taken a sip of something too hot or cold causing your teeth to hurt? It is not pleasant! We ask ourselves questions like when should I go to a dentist or what exactly constitutes a dental emergency? Did you get hit in the face while playing baseball and lost a tooth? That might be one! It is necessary to learn all the facts on what to do in a dental emergency because it could save your teeth or even your life!

What is a dental emergency?

Generally speaking it is mouth pain or trauma that is urgently affecting your health negatively. It causes an immediate danger to life, limbs, vision, or prolonged health. If you are experiencing an emergency it is crucial to seek out a dentist or medical professional. Have a look below to see the types of common dental emergencies and tips on what you should do in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

  • Losing a tooth is an exceptionally disagreeable event that should be taken extremely serious! It is essential that a dentist is sought out right away. If the tooth is preserved and it is medically acted upon quickly there is a chance it can be inserted back into the mouth. Do not handle the tooth by the root only the crown to limit damage and increase liability of the bone being reattached. Keep in mind that the missing tooth must not dry out! It is best to clean both your mouth and the tooth with warm water then gently place the tooth back into the socket this will keep it moist. If you are unable to do so then take a light piece of cloth wrapping the tooth inside and dousing it in saliva or milk.
  • A loose tooth or unaligned tooth is one step from being a missing tooth. It is vital to seek an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible. You will want to apply little pressure in attempt to re position the tooth back into place. Forcing it can cause a break or fracture; therefore, making the situation massively worse. It is also recommended that biting down will keep the tooth from moving and falling out. To relieve pain take Tylenol or Advil and apply a cold compressor on the cheeks over the injured area.
  • Fractured teeth or broken teeth can be very painful in varying degrees depending on how bad the tooth or teeth are damaged. The first step is to wash your mouth with warm water mildly. Take ibuprofen instead of aspirin because aspirin can cause substantial bleeding and burn the gums in injured area. Use ice pack on face to reduce ad prevent swelling. Seek a dentist to determine how badly the injury is and to receive treatment.
  • Tissue injuries are tears, lacerations, or puncture wounds to the cheeks, lips or tongue. These cause significant amount of pain unfortunately and will have bleeding. It is suggested that gauze be placed on bleeding site after the mouth has been cleaned out with warm water. The injured person should immediately be taken to a nearby emergency room especially if bleeding last longer than five to ten minutes for necessary care.
  • Abscess is an infection that grows inside the root of your teeth. Abscesses are a highly dangerous dental emergency that can cause severe damage to your teeth, gums, and mouth. It is best to seek a dentist fast if you notice swelling inside your gums similar to pimples. Cleaning your mouth with a warm water salt solution can be helpful and alleviate pain. There is not excuse not to seek immediate treatment for abscess because such an infection can grow deadly not only for the mouth but you as well.

How can you be prepared in case of a dental emergency?

Approach dental care like you would in a medical situation taking precautions and having a first aid kit prepared. In the kit should be ibuprofen, a small container, gauze, and a handkerchief. Always have a mouth guard in place when playing sports that can result in you getting knocked in the face such as football, boxing, and any sport where it is likely. Seeing your dentist routinely for checkups is another excellent precaution that can be very useful in preventing a dental emergency. Avoid chewing on ice and biting into hard foods that may break or fracture your teeth and use scissors not your mouth to cut objects or open packaging.

It is an emergency but after hours what do I do?

The first thing you should do is keep your dentist’s contact information like his office and home or after hours phone numbers. It is best to make contact right away and explain what exactly has occurred. They usually have after hours procedures to provide dental emergency services. If you are unable to make contact with your dentist or their office then there is always the option of searching in your cities directory or an online search engine.  Look for twenty four hour dental emergency locations. Each city always has at least a couple dentist offices available for emergency. It is as simple as looking in a phone book or typing into Google emergency dental services. Then type whatever town or city you may live in. For example, I would search for emergency dentist in New Jersey.  Do not wait if faced with an emergency.  If you are unable to find a dentist anywhere that can treat your injuries in a timely manner then the best option is to seek out a local hospital especially if it is tissue damage or a fracture that is bleeding.

Taking good care of our teeth is not an option. They are central to general body health. As they say, a healthy mouth, is a health body.