When a dental emergency arises, whether due to a sudden accident or an ongoing issue, it's essential to provide prompt care to your teeth and the surrounding mouth tissues. Similar to other medical emergencies, it's vital to be aware of what to do in advance to ensure the best possible outcome.
Dental injury can be distressing. If a permanent tooth gets knocked out, quick action is key. To maximize the chances of saving the tooth, handle it without touching the root, rinse it gently with water, and reposition it correctly in its socket. Maintain light pressure on the tooth as you head to the dental office or emergency room. If immediate re-implantation isn’t possible, place it between the patient’s cheek and gum or store it in cold milk.
In cases of more severe injuries, such as a displaced or loose tooth, treatment should occur within six hours. In situations of uncontrolled bleeding, it’s crucial to go directly to the ER. Fortunately, most dental injuries are less severe. Chipped teeth are the most common form of traumatic dental injuries. If a tooth chips, try to locate any broken pieces, as reattachment might be possible. Schedule an office visit as soon as possible and bring the fragments with you.
Tooth pain is always a sign of an issue that requires immediate attention at the dental office. Tooth decay, often the primary cause of dental pain, is a bacterial infection that can extend throughout various parts of the tooth and even into the gum tissue. Sometimes, tooth pain may indicate the need for a root canal procedure. This treatment not only relieves the pain associated with deep tooth infections but also preserves the tooth from extraction. In other instances, pain might result from a loose filling or tooth sensitivity. To accurately diagnose the cause of your tooth pain, schedule a prompt appointment with the dental office.
Soft tissue injuries and infections in the mouth may sometimes require urgent attention. The gums, tongue, or cheek lining can get hurt from accidental bites, falls, sports mishaps, or scalding. Foreign objects stuck below the gum line can also lead to injury, while painful abscesses can form due to infections. A periodontal abscess, filled with pus from an infection, is particularly painful and needs immediate care at the dental office.
If you injure the soft tissues in your mouth, rinse with diluted salt water and clear away visible debris. Most bleeding can be controlled by pressing a clean, damp material to the area for 10-15 minutes. If it persists, go to the emergency room.
When a foreign object lodges beneath the gum line, try gently removing it with dental floss or a toothpick. If it’s stubborn, schedule a dental appointment to prevent damage or infection.
Orthodontic matters typically aren’t emergencies, but there are exceptions. Trauma to your teeth, face, or mouth, infection, severe swelling in the gums, mouth, or face, and unmanageable discomfort warrant immediate care at the dental office or emergency room. For issues like loose, broken, or bothersome orthodontic hardware, contact the dental office for guidance.