Quick Action Can Save a Tooth
Just when you thought everything was going good, you or your family member suddenly have a tooth emergency. If you know what to do right away, it may enable the tooth or teeth to be saved. An emergency dentist can do the rest, but oftentimes, you will need to get to the dentist’s office quickly.
Some situations when you need emergency dental care include:
A Knocked Out Tooth
aving a tooth that is knocked out completely (avulsed) requires that you get to an emergency dental clinic quickly if the tooth is to be saved. In most cases, this needs to take place within an hour, but 30 minutes is better.
The tooth needs to be picked up by the crown and gently rinsed with milk or warm water if it is dirty. Then try and replace it back in the socket if it will go, but do not force it into place. (A child’s tooth should not be replaced). If it will not go in, hold the tooth between the gums and the cheek, or place it in milk, in saliva, or in water with a little salt.
When a tooth is knocked out, the nerves and blood vessels are also damaged. This is why a root canal will need to be performed on the tooth. It will be splinted to another tooth for stability, and then a root canal may be performed a few days later.
Sometimes, teeth may be moved out of place (luxation) but not completely knocked out. Going to a dentist for emergency treatment is important. To get some pain relief, you can apply a cold compress to your cheek and you may take over-the-counter pain medication.
An x-ray will be needed to ensure that there is no damage to neighboring teeth or to the jawbone. Treatment will likely consist of moving the tooth back into place and then splinting it, a root canal, and then there will be a long-term follow-up to ensure successful placement.
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, try and locate the pieces and keep them hydrated. Rinse your mouth out with water to remove bacteria and food particles – especially if the pulp of the tooth is visible. A cracked tooth can become infected if it is not treated. A more serious crack may require an extraction. The sooner emergency dental work is completed, the safer the tooth will be. Otherwise, you could experience sensitivity in the cracked tooth when you eat or drink hot or cold foods. The dentist will likely take an x-ray and splinting may be necessary.
An abscessed tooth will usually be identified by an infection in the gums around a tooth – and lots of pain. It is often caused by an infection in the tooth and it will spread unless treated. This problem can become life-threatening, so immediate dental care should be gained quickly.
Emergency dental treatment should be sought when there is a fever or difficulty breathing with the infected gums. A dentist will drain off the inflammation and conduct a root canal to remove the infection in the tooth. In some cases, an extraction will be necessary.
If you leave a cavity untreated, it will sooner or later become quite painful. While waiting to go to the dentist’s office, do not put pain medications such as aspirin directly on your gums because this can cause burns. Sometimes you can lightly brush and floss around the tooth causing the pain and this may remove the pain. The problem, however, is not removed until the tooth is filled by a dentist.
A Broken Jaw
When you experience a broken jaw, the treatment will vary depending on the extent of the injury. The first thing you should do is to ensure that if the person is bleeding that it is draining out of the mouth. Then, look for any teeth that may have been knocked out and place them in milk, saliva, or slightly salty water. Immobilize the jaw with a handkerchief, scarf, or necktie, but ensure that it is removable in case the person needs to vomit. Apply cold compresses. Get the person to a hospital right away if there is difficulty breathing or a possible spine injury. Otherwise, take them to an emergency dentist.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies such as toothaches and abscessed teeth can often be avoided by regular dental care. This involves brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing. Teeth that are completely knocked out or displaced can usually be prevented by wearing a teeth guard while engaged in sports. When these practices are combined with regular dental visits, you will likely be able to save some money and possibly avoid the need for emergency dental care.
When you have a dental emergency and need to find a walk in dentist, ToothHQ Board Certified Periodontists, can help you. We provide emergency dental care in our Carrollton, Cedar hill, Mockingbird/SMU, and Grapevine, TX offices. Most dental insurance plans are accepted.