Dental emergencies come in many forms, with some requiring more urgent care than others. They aren’t something to be overlooked as they may lead to more serious complications. If ignored, they can lead to permanent damage which will likely be more expensive to treat. Therefore, how fast you react to your dental emergency will have a direct impact on the outcome. To elaborate, a dental emergency can happen to your teeth, gums, jaw or the soft tissue in your mouth. It is vital to know what to do in such instances to avoid unnecessary hassles before you visit your dentist. Here’s how you should handle a dental emergency, whatever it may be.
What You Should Do in Case of a Dental Emergency
- Loss of a Permanent Tooth
- Bleeding Mouth
- Lost Filling
- Cracked or Chipped Tooth
If you have sustained an injury leading to loss of one of your permanent teeth, seek treatment immediately. Retrieve the tooth and rinse it with water to get rid of any accumulated dirt. Do not use any chemicals or soap, or scrub or remove any tissue attached to the tooth. The best way to preserve the tooth is to try to put it back in its place, ensuring it is facing the right way, but don’t force it. If you can’t, put it in a small container filled with milk or a cup of water with a pinch of salt or any other product containing a cell growth medium. Next, call your dentist immediately, as a tooth which has fallen out has the highest chances of being saved if it is returned to its socket within an hour of being displaced. Meanwhile, apply a cold compress to the area of injury to reduce swelling.
If you experience a toothache every time you eat or drink something hot or cold, it could be a sign of tooth decay, worn enamel, exposed dentin or a cracked filling. If the toothache is resulting in swelling, use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth. Chances are that over-the-counter medicines will help with the pain, but in cases of severe toothache, you may need a prescription painkiller. Your dentist can prescribe such medications so don’t wait long to arrange a visit.
A bleeding mouth could be a sign of a chronic or acute condition. If you notice bloody floss, it could be because you have gingivitis or gum disease. But, if you notice blood in your saliva when you spit while brushing, it could be because of advanced gum disease or even a sign of cancer. Remember, your mouth should not bleed often. Consult a dentist if your mouth has been bleeding for a prolonged period, whether you notice blood on your floss or a bit of pink every time you brush. If you have recently had a dental procedure, go back to your dentist as it is a sign that you need immediate help. It is normal to bleed for a few hours after a procedure, but if it continues longer, do not hesitate to seek help.
If you have lost a filling and can’t visit your dentist immediately, there are a few things you can do to manage the situation. For pain, apply clove powder or oil to the affected area using a cotton swab. If possible, try placing the filling back over the area and use either a denture adhesive, over-the-counter dental cement or toothpaste to hold it in place until you can visit your dentist. However, if you’ve lost the filling, cover the area with a small piece of sugarless gum until then, but know this is a temporary solution. Leaving the area untreated for a long time could result in pain and an infection that could spread.
The causes of these can range from being hit on the mouth to biting on a hard piece of food such as candy or ice. Regardless of how you sustain the crack or chip on your tooth, there is a good chance that the nerve endings in the dentin will become exposed and cause discomfort. Exposed nerves are hypersensitive to heat and cold so need to be treated immediately. You may use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth to bring down any swelling until you see your dentist. Don’t delay the appointment as this can lead to bigger problems such as decay which may require the tooth to be extracted.
This is an infection that occurs around the root of the tooth or the space between the teeth and gums. It is a severe condition that can damage the surrounding teeth and tissue. An abscess can lead to bigger oral health concerns, so it is a good idea to see your dentist as soon as you notice the first sign. Until then, rinse your mouth frequently with a solution of mildly salted water; this will help draw out pus and relieve pain. Use this method several times a day until you visit your dentist.
A dental emergency can happen anytime, and without knowing how to handle the situation, you might lose a tooth. With these tips, however, you will be better prepared to handle a dental emergency without panicking. If the situation is not serious, you can wait until you see your dentist. However, the longer you wait, the more severe the damage may get. So, if you think you need emergency dental care, book an appointment with your dentist for as soon as possible to ensure you receive proper care.