You’re having a perfectly fine day when suddenly you find yourself having a serious bout of pain from a toothache or you’re in shock from a dislodged tooth. Either situation is considered a dental emergency, but you’d like to know how you can determine for sure when you have one. As you read on, your local dentist weighs in to explain what a dental emergency is and what you should do if one arises.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is any situation that causes a sudden change in the state of your oral health to the degree that it causes acute pain and dysfunction. The first thing you should do if find yourself in one is take a deep breath and calm yourself. Then, you should immediately reach out to your emergency dentist.
Here are some of the more common types of dental emergencies:
- Severe Toothache – If you have a toothache, you can gargle with salt water and floss for temporary relief. Additionally, you can apply ice to the outside of your face where the pain is and also take pain relief medicine like ibuprofen.
- Broken or Fractured Tooth – One of the great things about the human body is that it has so many self-medicating properties. Thus, if you have a broken or fractured tooth, your saliva will help to coat the damaged area with enzymes that will help to provide temporary relief from any sensitivity. It’s still important, though, to be seen by your local dentist as soon as possible.
- Lost Tooth – If you have a dislodged tooth, you will need to carefully pick it up by the crown (the wider portion) and place it in its rightful place until you can be seen by your dentist. Be careful not to chew on that side of your mouth, though.
- Lost Filling or Crown – A lost filling or crown leaves your tooth susceptible to bacteria and food particles infecting the inner area. You can apply a small amount of olive oil to the area to help relieve the pain, but you’ll definitely want to contact your dentist.
- Object Stuck in Teeth – If you have an object stuck in your teeth, you can try to carefully floss or rinse your mouth with salt water. If it causes uncontrollable bleeding that doesn’t stop after 10 minutes, then you should head to your local emergency room.
- Soft Tissue Injury – The same basic rules apply for a soft tissue injury as does having an object stuck in your teeth. You should take steps to stop any bleeding by using a cotton swab, but if that doesn’t work then, again, head to the hospital.
- Jaw Injury – Jaw injuries should definitely not be taken lightly. If you suspect that your jaw is broken, you should head to the emergency room immediately.
How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
While some dental emergencies are out of our control, there are others that can be prevented via performing dental hygiene on a regular basis, visiting your dentist at least two times a year and eating less sugars and processed foods. To take a proactive step in preventing dental trauma or to get the emergency care you need, reach out to your local dentist to schedule a visit today.
About the Author
Dr. Melanie White earned her dental degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, and for over a decade has been providing expert care to the city of Evansville. One of the things she loves most about being a dentist is that she can interact with, get to know and help people be fully restored. Dr. White treats dental emergencies at Maple Grove Family Dental and can be reached for more information through her website.