When a softball hits you in the face and knocks out a tooth, it’s shocking, to say the least. When you have a car accident and lose a tooth, bite into something and feel your tooth break, or face any other traumatic dental situation, you experience pain and surprise and might not know what to do next.
At Nobel Dentistry, Dr. Abraham Nobel and his staff offer emergency dental services for exactly those situations. When you experience an emergency, knowing what to do immediately can help you feel calmer, and it can also mean you end up with a better result.
The first thing to do is call our office. Our staff can talk you through the situation and ensure you’re seen as soon as you arrive. In this post, we describe some other useful tips in an emergency.
How do I know it’s an emergency?
You may not realize it, but a broken tooth, a lost crown, or an abrupt toothache is actually an emergency, even if it’s not so painful you can’t stand it. Intense pain doesn’t have to be present for you to be having an emergency.
Understanding when you need emergency dental care is important for you to experience the best outcome. Some common dental emergencies include:
- Intense or persistent toothache or jaw pain
- Radiating tooth pain that could indicate an abscess
- Gum pain or inflammation
- Chipped, cracked, or broken tooth enamel
- A loose or knocked-out tooth
- A loose or lost crow, filling, or bridge
- A traumatic injury of any kind to your mouth, teeth, tongue, or other oral tissue
An injury or pain in your mouth that doesn’t go away qualifies as a dental emergency.
What to do for common dental emergencies
You can begin self-care as soon as you realize you’re experiencing a dental emergency. Doing a few things before you arrive at our office can make a huge difference in how well your treatment works, especially when it comes to a problem like a knocked-out tooth.
Here are four common dental emergencies and what you should do at home:
A toothache that won’t stop
A relentless toothache can stem from several problems, such as deep dental decay, infection (abscess) in or near your tooth, or food particles trapped between your teeth or under your gums. All of these situations require immediate treatment.
Once you’ve called our office, the next step is to gently swish your mouth with warm water. You can also hold a cold compress to your jaw where it hurts. If you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, choose something other than aspirin, as aspirin can increase your risk of excessive bleeding if you need a procedure like a root canal or extraction.
Loose or lost dental work
While you might not need immediate, same-day care for a loose or lost crown, filling, or bridge, you need to get an appointment as quickly as possible. You don’t want food particles, bacteria, or germs to enter the exposed area.
Until you can get to our office, avoid hard foods, chew on the unaffected side, and rinse your mouth after each meal. You may also want to use over-the-counter products to fill the area and temporarily seal the exposed tissue and help you avoid developing an infection. Dental wax and cement are available in most drug stores and can help temporarily keep your crown in place.
If you chip or crack the enamel of your teeth, you do most of the same self-care activities as you would for a persistent toothache. Gently soothe the area by swishing warm water, using a cold compress, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever other than aspirin to ease discomfort.
To prevent additional damage, eat soft foods or consume a liquid diet, and chew on the unaffected side of your mouth. If a piece of your tooth has broken off, place the fragment in a small container with water because Dr. Nobel may be able to restore your tooth.
When a permanent tooth is knocked loose or completely out, acting quickly may save your tooth.
Immediately pick your tooth up, touching only the crown, rinse it gently, and put it in a clean container. You can use milk, saliva, or water to cover it; the most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.
Come to our office as quickly as possible so that Dr. Nobel can determine whether or not your tooth can be successfully reattached.
Emergency care you can trust
Daily hygiene and regular visits to our office for cleanings and exams are essential for good dental health. Having great dental health is the best way to avoid many dental emergencies.
However, sometimes accidents happen, and even the best dental hygiene habits can’t prevent them. If you find yourself in such a situation, get in touch with us right away to schedule a same-day appointment.