What to Do in a Dental Emergency

We can’t always anticipate every single thing that might happen to us; that’s why there are accidents. Knowing what to do during an emergency can help minimize any damage and prevent complications as you make your way to see a medical professional. 

When it comes to dental emergencies, it’s always ideal that you hop on the first ride to your dentist’s clinic to get the proper care and attention for your tooth. But if it’s the evening or the weekend and your dentist isn’t available, then these tips should keep your tooth and your health safe until you’re able to make that visit.

For Knocked-out Teeth

Maybe you had a nasty fall and an adult tooth came flying out of your mouth. Whatever caused it, you need to find the tooth and keep it moist at all times. If you can try placing it back into its socket without touching the root, that would be ideal. But if there’s too much pain, simply keep it between your cheek and your gums on the other side of your mouth. 

You can also opt to soak it in milk or to coat it in a tooth preservation product that features the ADA’s seal of acceptance. For baby teeth, you can do the same thing. The importance of keeping the tooth is because your dentist needs to determine how much of your tooth came out, and whether or not they can return it by way of an implant.

For Cracked Teeth

A cracked, broken, or fractured tooth can be painful and is prone to infection. So to keep it safe from further complication, immediately gargle water to cleanse the area. Then, take an ice pack and press it against the outside of your cheek on the affected side. Keep the area clean until you can see your doctor by gargling with warm water or saline solution.

For a Tongue or Lip Bite

Most often, you can treat a tongue or lip bite at home, especially if there aren’t any symptoms of severe damage. Keep the area clean with a water rinse and apply a cold compress over your cheek on the affected side. 

If you have severe pain and bleeding that won’t stop, then it might be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Follow the same steps as described above, and see your specialist as soon as possible.

For Toothaches

Toothaches vary in cause, so it’s ideal that you see your dentist as soon as possible to determine what might be the reason for your pain. In the meantime, you can rinse your mouth with warm water to keep the oral cavity clean. Use floss to clean gently around the tooth and remove any food debris that might be aggravating the pain. 

If you suspect an infection, such as a toothache that’s accompanied by a fever, then it might help to gargle regularly with saline solution to combat the growing bacteria in your mouth and temper the spread of the infection.

For a Dislocated Jaw

For a dislocated jaw, apply a cold compress to the area where the pain is most pronounced to manage the swelling and pain. If your dentist isn’t available, proceed to the nearest emergency unit in your area. A dislocated jaw will require prompt medical attention, and a physician might be able to provide sufficient care in the absence of your dentist.

For Debris or Objects Stuck Between the Teeth

If there’s anything stuck between your teeth, the only way to safely remove it would be with the use of dental floss. Gently run a string of floss around the area, and do not, under any circumstances, try to poke it out with sharp objects, like toothpicks or needles. This can cause the debris to get jammed further between your teeth, causing pain and risking infection. See your dentist immediately if there’s heavy bleeding or severe pain.

For Traveling Dental Needs

If you’re away from home when a dental emergency happens, then you should, at all costs, visit a dentist in the area where you are to get prompt medical attention. Do your research and locate an ADA member dentist to handle your case, making sure that they’re qualified to address your dental emergency.

How to Prevent a Dental Emergency

As previously stated, there really is no way to anticipate what might happen to your teeth. But taking extra care and caution when using your teeth for certain activities can help limit the chances of these types of dental emergencies. 

  • Use a mouth guard whenever you engage in any sort of sport or rigorous activity. If you’re lifting heavy boxes, moving things around your house, or climbing ladders for whatever reason, it pays to wear a mouth guard since you are at a higher risk of falling and, thus, damaging your teeth. 
  • Refrain from chewing on things that might cause damage to your teeth. Things like ice cubes, hard candy, popcorn kernels, or even your pen cap can cause damage to your teeth. Avoid habitual chewing on non-food items to reduce the risk of cracked or fractured teeth. 
  • While it might be easier to rip a package open with your teeth, the force can cause one of your chompers to fly out or break. Instead of biting on the packaging to get it open, always reach for the scissors instead. It might cost you a few extra seconds, but it can save you a tooth.