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What to do in an emergency dental situation

We have listed a few dental emergencies and specific suggestions on how to treat them before you have the opportunity visit your emergency dentist.

Chipped tooth - A chipped tooth is rarely a disaster. Your emergency dentist should be able save your broken tooth. Before you see the dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, and reduce any swelling by using cold compresses. Your emergency dentist may fix the tooth using a white filling. If a filling is not likely to help, your dentist may recommend a root canal and a crown.

Bitten Tongue or Lip - Injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, including the lips, tongue or cheek can occur often. These injuries may be in the form of tears, puncture wounds or lacerations. First, clean the cut area, and reduce the swelling using a cold compress. If the cold compress doesn’t stop the bleeding or the swelling, visit the emergency room of the nearest hospital immediately to get the wound sutured. In case of a tongue laceration, simply pull the tongue forward, and place a piece of gauze to put pressure on the affected area. 

Cracked Tooth - A cracked tooth can manifest itself in the form of a toothache. The crack may be invisible to the eye, and may be invisible even in an X-ray. Your emergency dentist will use methods like bonding or root canal treatment depending on the size of the crack and the location. In extreme cases, your dentist may extract your tooth.

Broken Jaw - First, use an ice pack to reduce the swelling. Visit your emergency dentist or an emergency room as fast as possible.

Toothache - A sudden toothache can throw your life out of gear. First, call your emergency dentist, and make an appointment. Use dental floss to remove any food or other forms of debris, caught between the teeth. Don’t use any pain killers directly on the gums, because they can burn the gums. In the meantime, take an over-the-counter painkiller to ease the pain.

Ibuprofen works great at decreasing the pain and helps to reduce swelling. An ice pack pressed against your face right at the source of the toothache will provide some relief.  Do not use hot compresses on the affected area, but do rinse your mouth using warm water.

Knocked Out Tooth - In case of a knocked out tooth, or an avulsed tooth, the most important thing is not to panic. First of all, locate the tooth, and immediately, call your emergency dentist. While waiting to see the dentist, rinse the area, but don’t scrub. Don’t try to remove any of the tissue fragments that may be attached to the tooth.  If you can, insert the tooth back into its socket.

If this is not possible, or if you fear that you might swallow your tooth, place it in a glass of cold milk, or wrap in a clean cloth. Visit the emergency dentist as quickly as possible. If you act fast and can get to a dentist within 10 minutes, the tooth has a very good chance of affixing itself once again and taking root. If you wait for more than 2 hours, the chances of your tooth taking root again are slim.

Objects Caught Between Teeth - Never use sharp or pointy tools to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. Instead, use dental floss carefully to remove the object. Take care to protect your gums. If you cannot dislodge the object, contact an emergency dentist immediately.

Extruded Teeth - Extruded teeth are teeth that have been pushed, either inside or outside. In such cases, the tooth should be pushed back to its normal position by using mild finger pressure. Do not force the tooth back into the socket, and quickly make an emergency appointment to see the dentist.

Fractured Teeth – There are several ways your dentist can repair fractured teeth. A minor fracture can be treated by your emergency dentist using a sand paper disc. He or she might also restore the tooth using a composite restoration. Your emergency dentist may even choose to leave it alone if it is a minute fracture. Whatever the treatment, the tooth should be treated with great care over the next several days, so be careful not to eat hard or sticky foods.

In case of a moderate fracture in which there is no permanent damage to your pulp, your emergency dentist will make use of teeth restoration methods, including placing a permanent crown to bring your tooth to its pre-fractured condition. If there has been damage to your pulp, your dentist may make use of additional treatment options. Besides pulp damage, a moderate fracture can also involve damage to the dentin or enamel.

In case of a severe fracture, chances of recovering the tooth may be slim. Even so, your emergency dentist will make use of specialized dental procedures to restore severely damaged teeth. Consulting with an emergency dentist for immediate treatment is therefore imperative.

Lost Fillings - If you’ve lost your dental filling, simply place a piece of sugarless chewing gum that has been softened, in the hole which contained the filling. Consult an emergency dentist as quickly as possible, to replace the filling.

Emergency dentists help to quickly resolve all these and other critical issues. Sometimes relieving the pain of the dental emergency is more important than repairing the dental issue. Take the time now to learn which emergency dentists in your area might be available to help you and your family in emergency dental situations. And feel free to print this page to have it available to know what to do in emergency dental circumstances before you have the opportunity to visit with your emergency dentist.