Common Dental Emergencies and how to Deal With Them
Dental emergencies can be both scary and painful. But no matter the cause or situation, one thing all emergencies have in common is a need for immediate action.
Dental pain can affect your ability to eat, sleep, talk, and even breathe. So what should you do if you can't get to the dentist right away? Don’t panic, there are ways to ease the pain until you can be seen.
Toothache: If a toothache occurs try rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 a teaspoon of salt to every 8 oz of water). This mixture can help kill bacteria and ease the pain. Try applying a cold compress to your mouth or cheek. The cold will dull the nerves while helping to prevent swelling. Over the counter oral treatments that contain benzocaine can help treat the pain. Do not apply crushed aspirin to your gums, this can cause damage to the soft tissue.
Tooth Trauma: If you chip, brake, or dislodge a tooth you should rinse your mouth with warm water right away. Apply a cold compress to help reduce pain and swelling. If you are able to find your tooth, bring it with you to the dentist. The sooner you act the more likely it is your dentist will be able to save the tooth.
Abscess: An abscess is a serious infection that needs to be addressed right away. You can ease the pain and swelling with acetaminophen. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and applying a cold compress will also help. Antibiotics are needed to treat the infection, so get to a dentist as soon as possible. If your dentist is not available you can call your PCP. They can start you on an antibiotic until you are able to get to the dentist.
Loss of Dental Work: Fillings and crowns can loosen over time and fall out. Sugarless gum or dental cement can be used to cover your exposed tooth until you can see the dentist. Make sure and use sugarless gum, sugar will cause more tooth pain. If you lose a crown you should rinse your mouth (and the crown) with warm water. You can affix the crown back over your tooth using denture adhesive or dental cement.
Broken Dental Hardware: Braces can become loose and break. Never cut a broken wire. Try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire down. If you can’t move the wire use dental wax to dull the sharp point. Dental wax can be used to hold loose brackets in place as well. Make an appointment and get into the orthodontist right away.
Injury to the Soft-tissue: The tongue, lips, cheek, and gums are all soft tissues. If an injury occurs you should rinse the area with warm salt water right away. Use some gauze and apply pressure to stop any bleeding. Follow up with a cold compress to help lessen any swelling. If you are unable to stop the bleeding go to a hospital emergency room right away.
Have a Dental Emergency?
If you or a loved one find yourselves in the unfortunate position of having a dental emergency, follow the tips in this guide and be sure to call or visit your dentist as soon as your able. After all, there is no substitute for professional dental care and support.