Knowing what constitutes a dental emergency, when you should seek emergency dental care, and what to do in the meantime is vital to protecting your family’s oral health. Perhaps you tripped over the cat, fell against the wall, and knocked out your crown. Maybe your spouse crunched an ice cube and has been complaining of a toothache ever since. Or maybe your son was clobbered by a lacrosse stick during practice, and his tooth was completely knocked out! Whatever the case may be, use the tips below to better understand when you need to seek out emergency dental care.
What You Need to Know About Emergency Dental Care
Sometimes an injury to a tooth demands an immediate response. Sometimes you can wait for your dentist’s office to open. Sometimes you can even let a few days go by without much harm. How should you handle a potential dental emergency?
When You Have a Toothache
A toothache deserves prompt attention, but it doesn’t always constitute a dental emergency. However, if you are experiencing severe pain or seeing signs of infection, you need to see a dentist quickly. When you have a toothache, contact your dentist’s office and describe your situation concisely, clearly, and accurately so that the staff can schedule your care appropriately.
When a Tooth Is Chipped
If a chipped tooth is minor and doesn’t hurt, you can normally wait a few days to see the dentist as long as you treat the injured area gingerly in the meantime. If the damage is painful or progresses, you will need to schedule a more prompt appointment.
When a Tooth Is Cracked, Fractured, or Broken
Cracks, fractures, and breaks often indicate that the tooth is damaged inside. Consider any of these red flags, signaling a need for emergency dental care. See a dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, rinse your mouth out with warm water. If there is facial swelling, use an ice pack. When pain is a problem, take acetaminophen. Do not take aspirin since it might prevent clotting. In addition, avoid using any topical painkillers because they might irritate the gum tissue.
When a Tooth Is Loose or Knocked Out
A tooth that is loose or knocked out is an obvious dental emergency, so you should make an immediate beeline for a dentist or an emergency room. If the tooth is still in its socket but has been jostled out of place, gently reposition it and bite down to keep it there. Never force the tooth to move. If a tooth has been knocked out, rinse out your mouth with warm water. Then, do the same with the lost tooth. Do not handle the tooth by the root or attempt to scrub it. If possible, replace the tooth in its socket. If that’s not an option, store the tooth in a small container of milk or saliva to keep it moist. The longer a tooth is out of the socket, the smaller the chance that it can be saved, so rapid action is critical.
When a Crown Is Knocked Out
While having a crown or dental restoration knocked out can be unsettling, it doesn’t require an urgent response. However, teeth can move rapidly, so you’ll want to contact your dentist office, notify them of the issue, and ask for an appointment so that the crown or restoration can be replaced. Be sure to take the crown or restoration with you to your appointment.
When You Aren’t Sure If It’s an Emergency
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell how urgent a situation is. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you experiencing severe pain?
- Are there loose teeth?
- Is there persistent bleeding?
- Are there swellings or knots on the gums?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may be dealing with a dental emergency. This is a situation in which it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are concerned that you might require emergency dental care, contact your dentist immediately.
Are you looking for top-notch dental care? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental today to schedule an appointment.