Does your toothache make you want to ‘roar’? Dental emergencies can be very painful and it is often unclear what you should do or where you should seek help. This article aims to answer your questions and provide guidance, however, it should not be considered medical advice. Please call 911 or visit the emergency room in the event of a serious emergency.
What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?
Any issue that requires immediate treatment to stop ongoing bleeding, save a tooth (chipped, broken, or knocked out), or alleviate severe pain is considered a dental emergency. Infection or abscess is a severe, life-threatening condition that needs to be dealt with immediately. If you have an emergency, contact our office and we will work to fit you into the schedule as soon as possible.
Where Should I Go, The Dentist or Emergency Room?
In the case of most dental emergencies, you should go to the dentist. A dentist has all of the specialized tools to repair chipped, broken, or knocked-out teeth and the training to deal with other emergencies. You should visit the ER when the dentist’s office is not open and you are experiencing severe pain. If you have severe pain with swelling or a fever you could have an infection or abscess and should seek immediate medical attention at the ER. It is important that you seek treatment for a dental emergency because left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to serious complications.
How Do I Deal With A Dental Emergency?
While the majority of dental emergencies will result in a visit to the dentist or ER, there are a few things you can do at the time of the injury that will result in a better outcome while minimizing symptoms.
Knocked Out Teeth:
For a baby tooth, wrap it in a damp towel to keep it moist and head to the dentist. If it is an adult tooth, hold the tooth by the crown, rinse it off with clean water if it is dirty, and place it back in the socket if possible. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any of the tissue fragments. If it is not possible, keep the tooth moist at all times. You can place it between your cheek and gums (just don’t swallow it), put it in milk, or use an ADA approved tooth preservation product. Then head to the dentist.
Chipped or Cracked Tooth:
Rinse your mouth with warm water (cold or hot will aggravate your chipped tooth) and apply a cold compress to your face to reduce swelling. Give your dentist a call.
Bitten Tounge or Lip:
Ouch! Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it up and apply a cold compress (ice works well in a pinch). If the bleeding does not stop, head to the ER.
Objects Lodged Between Teeth
Floss is your friend for anything stuck between your teeth. See if you can work the object out using floss. If not, it’s time to see your dentist. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument as you may cause more severe damage.
Rinse your mouth with warm water, gently floss around the affected tooth to remove any food that may be trapped and make an appointment. You should not apply aspirin to the tooth or gums. You may wish to take acetaminophen, aspirin, or an NSAID such as ibuprofen to help with the symptoms. In which case you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Orthodontia and Braces:
Problems with your braces are best served and answered by your orthodontist. However, a bracket or wire that is irritating can often be resolved by applying a ball of beeswax. A cotton ball or gauze can also be useful in these situations.
Other Concerns Regarding Dental Emergencies
Our intent was not to provide a definitive guide to dental emergencies but we want you to know that we are here to help our Cottage Grove community, just give us a call with any emergency you are facing.
The internet is also a treasure trove of information, you might start your search on the American Dental Associations website Mouth Healthy where you can also find a dentist if you have a dental emergency while traveling.