Do you know how to care for a tooth during a dental emergency? Depending on the emergency, dental pain can be serious. If ignored, you run the risk of permanent damage, as well as the need for more extensive (and expensive) treatment later on. The best way to handle the situation? Act calmly and quickly!
How to Care for a Tooth During a Dental Emergency
The good news is that most dental emergencies are not life threatening. It’s the potential of extreme pain that’s the issue, not health. Still, you should call your dentist right away any time your tooth is cracked, missing, aching, or when objects are stuck in between your teeth. Here are some tips from the American Dental Association on how to care for a tooth during a dental emergency if you can’t see your dentist right away:
- If you have knocked out a permanent or adult tooth, be sure to keep the tooth moist. Try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. Not possible? Place it between your cheek and gums in milk. You can also use a tooth preservation product that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance. Then, visit your dentist’s office as soon as you can.
- If your tooth is cracked, rinse your mouth out with warm water and put a cold compress on your face to keep the swelling down.
- If you have an object stuck between your teeth, gently remove it with floss. Do not remove it with a sharp or pointed object.
- If you have a toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. And whatever you do, do not take aspirin for your aching tooth or gums. Aspirin can prevent clotting. Take acetaminophen instead.
When You Should Visit the Emergency Room
For most dental emergencies, you should contact and see your dentist as soon as possible. In fact, in most states it is illegal for anyone other than a dentist to pull a tooth, fill a cavity, or perform any restorative dental care. Finding an emergency room with a dentist on staff or on call is extremely rare. However, there are two situations in which you should go to the ER instead of waiting to visit your dentist:
- If you experience trauma to the face that has caused severe swelling, cuts inside or around the mouth, or a broken jaw, you should go to the emergency room before visiting the dentist.
- If you have an untreated infection. Although it is extremely rare, an untreated infection can become life threatening. Antibiotics will curb this threat. Aside from the risk of your infection spreading, leaving a toothache untreated can quickly develop into larger problems requiring more expensive treatment.
How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
You can’t avoid every accident. However, there are a few simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to your teeth:
- Maintain a healthy dental regimen.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.
- Use scissors – not your teeth – to cut things.
- Wear a mouth guard if you grind your teeth at night.
Did you know that most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients? If you are experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist immediately and provide as much detail as possible about your condition.
At Wilkinson Dental, we are committed to your comfort. We are proud to offer you and your family a relaxing office environment while providing the care you need for a happier, healthier smile. It’s why we offer a variety of services like cleaning and exams, teeth whitening, and more. If you’re ready to set up an appointment, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or click here. We look forward to hearing from you!