Your smile is your biggest asset in landing a job and making friends. So when a dental emergency compromises your smile, you want to find help immediately. A broken or missing tooth does not look good, after all, on a company picture.
Most dentists will accommodate you when you encounter a dental emergency. But you can take a few steps on your own to mitigate the damage should you find yourself without a tooth or with a traumatic injury to your mouth. Here are a few common dental emergencies and ways you can handle them efficiently.
Most dentists will let you in without an appointment if you have a dental emergency. So if you experience a chipped tooth, a knocked-out tooth, an abscess, or any kind of trauma to your mouth, contact your dentist immediately. They understand the medical nature of your emergency and will find a way to see you.
In the case of an abscess, you need to respond quickly. An abscess is an infection in the root or around the tissue of a tooth. An untreated infection can lead to sepsis and ultimately death.
You know you have an abscess when you discover a pimple-like swelling in your gum. This swollen spot will hurt, even when you take over-the-counter pain killers.
You can ease the pain and draw out the pus by rinsing your mouth with a salt-water solution of 1/2 teaspoon of table salt mixed in with 8 ounces of water. Rinse your mouth out several times a day until you can see a dentist.
With a knocked-out tooth, the sooner the dentist sees you, the better chance you have of having a fully restored tooth. Minutes matter, so follow these instructions and move quickly.
Knocked-out teeth cause pain and need immediate attention. If something knocks your tooth out, your first need to get your bleeding under control. You will have quite a bit of blood, so put gentle pressure on the area until it stops bleeding.
Then, attempt to retrieve your tooth. If you find the tooth, hold it by the crown and not the root. Then gently wash the root with water without removing any of the tooth fragments attached to it.
Attempt to reinsert the tooth. If you cannot do this, then place it in a small container of milk or saltwater, and head over to the dentist’s office.
Broken or Chipped Teeth
You should treat a broken or chipped tooth much like you’d treat a lost tooth. If you’re bleeding, start by getting the bleeding under control. Apply gauze to the area until the bleeding stops.
Then attempt to find the pieces of the teeth that broke off. If you find them, rinse them off with warm water and rinse your mouth out with warm water.
You can alleviate swelling and pain by applying a cold compress to your cheek and the area where you broke the teeth.
Then, just like with a missing tooth, see the dentist immediately so they can fix the tooth and you can avoid complications caused by tooth injuries.
When trauma causes an extruded or partially dislodged tooth, you will feel immediate and intense pain. So call an emergency dentist immediately. Make an appointment and ask if you can take over-the-counter pain medication as you wait.
As you wait, refrain from pushing the tooth back or manipulating it in any way. Just leave the teeth alone and treat the pain and swelling. Put an ice compress on the outside of your cheek over the area where the teeth are dislodged.
If you cannot tolerate the pain,
An extruding or partially dislodged can be really painful. Call for an emergency dentist immediately to get an appointment. While you wait to get seen, do not try to push back the tooth or manipulate it in any other way. To relieve pain and swelling, use an ice compress on the cheek over the affected area. If the pain is unbearable, you can also ask the dentist and take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Lost Filling or Lost Crown
You may not notice a lost filling immediately since it’s such a small part of your mouth. Once you notice it, call the dentist and make an appointment. Then, put a piece of sugarless gum into the hole as a temporary solution or fill the cavity with over-the-counter dental cement.
Remember, these are temporary solutions. Do not use gum or over-the-counter dental cement as a long-term fix.
If your crown falls off, call the dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. Bring your crown with you to see if the dentist can salvage it.
If you’re experiencing pain as you wait, you can apply clove oil to the sensitive area. Then, coat the inner part of your crown with toothpaste, denture adhesive, or over-the-counter dental cement and try to slip it over the area. Do not superglue your crown to your area.
Braces are prone to breaking if you do not care for them. When a wire breaks and sticks out of the bracket or band, it will poke your youth.
Break off the end of an eraser from a pencil, and use it to coerce the wire into a more comfortable position. If the wire won’t move, then cover the end with a small cotton ball, a piece of gauze, or orthodontic wax until you can see your orthodontist.
Do not cut the wire. You may end up inhaling it and having even more problems.
If your brackets and bands become loose, reattach them with orthodontic wax. Then see your orthodontist for a long-term fix. If your band is loose, save it and have your orthodontist replace it or recement it.
Avoiding a Dental Emergency
You can avoid a trip to the specialists in emergency dentistry by taking a few precautions. For example, if you play sports, wear a mouthguard. Also, avoid chewing hard things such as ice, hard candy, and popcorn.
Finally, use your teeth to eat and not as a cutting tooth. Use scissors to cut items like fishing lines and strings. Often you can avoid the dental injuries that lead to pain and expensive repairs.
You can avoid long-term problems when you respond to a dental emergency immediately. If you follow the above steps, you’ll find yourself in the best shape possible once you walk into the dentist’s office.
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