In a dental emergency, your dentist should be the first person you call. Have your dentist’s contact information ready at all times. The following tips can help you cope with an emergency until your appointment, whether at home or traveling. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) has a lot of useful information about dental emergencies while traveling. With some emergencies, seeing a dentist on the hour can make the difference between keeping or losing one or more teeth.
A misaligned or loose tooth is an emergency. Until it’s time for your appointment, try to put the tooth back by exerting light pressure with your finger. To keep the tooth from moving, bite down. Your dentist might fix your tooth to the adjacent teeth for stability.
Tooth That’s Knocked Out
This is also a dental emergency. Take measures as soon as possible to increase the dentist’s chances of reinserting it.
Without touching the root, pick up the tooth by the top. Wash it with water gently, but do not scrub. Place a cloth or towel in the sink so that you don’t lose it down the drain. If it’s possible, place the tooth back gently, holding it in place.
If it’s not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk or in a small container. The former is better. Call your dentist at once. If you wait too long, the tooth might not take.
Cracked, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
A chipped, but painless tooth is not a dental emergency. To keep it from chipping more, though, be careful while chewing. Your dentist can add filling to fix it or simply smooth the chip out.
Experts agree that a fractured or cracked tooth is usually an emergency. Cracked or fractured teeth indicate there has been damage to the inside and outside of the tooth. Call your dentist immediately. While you wait for an appointment, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce or prevent swelling. This is especially important if the crack was due to facial injury or trauma.
Your dentist will take an X-ray to properly diagnose your tooth’s condition. If there has been damage to the pulp (the soft tissue on the inside), you might require a more complex procedure like a root canal. If there hasn’t, the tooth might only need a crown.
Having a Temporary Crown Fall Off
This is not a dental emergency, but you have to put it back in place so that the tooth doesn’t move around. It’s easy to put a temporary crown back onto your tooth. You can use Chapstick, toothpaste, or Vaseline. Apply your substance of choice to the crown and place it on your tooth. Apply pressure by biting down firmly, using a dry cloth. Clean off the excess substance after a few minutes and make an appointment to see your dentist within the next several days.
When is it a Dental Emergency?
If you have strong pain, are bleeding from the mouth, have loose teeth, have swelling in the facial area, or have been hit in the mouth or face, you are most likely experiencing a dental emergency. Call your dentist at once. Describe what you are feeling and what happened.
You can easily avoid a dental emergency by going for regular checkups to make sure your teeth and mouth are strong and healthy. If you participate in contact sports, always wear mouth protection.
Do not hesitate to contact Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics immediately if you are having a dental emergency.