You may have heard the phrase “dental emergency”, but not everyone knows what qualifies as an emergency in the world of dentistry. It’s not always as obvious as a broken arm or a buzz saw to the head! So below is a list of just a few of what we would describe as dental emergencies and some advice on what to do in each situation. In each case it is vital to see your dentist as soon as possible after taking the recommended precautions.
1. Chipped Teeth: This is probably one of the more obvious ones. But in the case of chipped or broken teeth be sure to save any pieces you can of the tooth. Rinse your mouth and any broken pieces. In the case of bleeding, apply gauze to the area for roughly ten minutes or until the bleeding stops. Use a wrapped ice pack on the outside of the mouth near the injury to relieve pain and swelling.
2. Lost Filling: As a stop-gap, stick a piece of sugar free gum into the cavity, or over the counter dental cement. As always, see your dentist as soon as possible.
3. Knocked-Out Teeth: Time is of the essence for knocked out teeth. They have the highest chance of being saved if seen by a dentist within 1 hour of being knocked out. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root with water if it has been exposed to dirt or other particles. DO NOT scrub or remove tissue. If you can, try to put it back in place, but be sure it is facing the right direction and never force it into the socket. If you can’t reinsert it, place it in a glass of milk and hurry to the dentist.
4. Toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm water, use floss to remove any food fragments, and use a cold compress on outside your mouth near the ache. Do not put painkillers like aspirin against the gums close to the aching tooth, it may burn the tissue.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/13/2015) SuperFantastic (Flickr)