During a dental emergency, the dentist should be contacted without further delay. Keep the dentist’s contact numbers in the emergency list so proper medical attention is given to the patient as time is of the essence.
If your dentist or Emergency Medical Services is 30 minutes or more away during a dental emergency, here are some of the tips and guidance to follow during such emergencies whether at home or traveling.
Tooth is knocked out
When a tooth is knocked out it requires immediate medical attention and proper steps should be followed after the tooth is knocked out. Possible chances are that it can be reinserted by a dentist. There are some steps you should follow to ensure the reattachment of the tooth. They are
- Gently pick the tooth up by the crown (top) and avoid touching the root of the tooth.
- Wash the tooth clean and gently remove any tissue attached to the tooth by a clean soft cloth.
- If you can, carefully place the tooth back into the socket and secure its position by biting down with the help of the teeth.
- If you are unable to do so then store the tooth inside a small container dipped in milk.
- A dentist’s attention is required so an emergency appointment has to be made, else it may be unviable to replant the tooth as the duration was too long and already the nerve endings of the tooth and pulp have decayed.
Tooth is out alignment
A Loose tooth is a common issue when you are playing outdoor sports and you get a smack in the face with the ball. As the MGA Dental emergency dentist, Brisbane & Gold Coast suggests that it is mandatory to call for a dentist right away. By the time try to apply some little pressure to make the tooth go back to its original position and stop any movement by securing it with other teeth biting down the tooth.
When the tooth is chipped, cracked or fractured
Chipped tooth does not always count as a dental emergency if it does not hurt much and you can wait for few days to regrow on its own and be careful not to chip it more. If it hurts too much while eating or drinking cold and warm food then it is probably due to hypersensitivity as nerve endings are open and in close proximity to these extreme temperatures. Contact the dentist immediately so he can smooth chip out or add some composite filling material to repair the tooth.
A fractured tooth is a dental emergency and emergency medical services should be contacted as soon as possible because the damage has extended to the inside of the tooth. If the fracture is too severe that the tooth cannot be saved then a replacement of a tooth is needed. However, sometimes it can be saved and to ensure the possibility follow the given steps:-
- Gently clean the tooth with warm water.
- Often the fracture or cracked tooth is caused by a facial trauma, cold compression like icepack must be applied to the area to reduce the swelling and cause further damage to the tissues.
- It is suggested that not to take aspirin but instead use acetaminophen to reduce the pain temporarily.
- Application of a painkiller to the gum is strictly prohibited because it can burn the gum tissue.
Your dentist might do an x-ray to diagnose the condition of the tooth. A new root canal might be needed if the pulp is damaged during the facial trauma otherwise only a crown is required.
Some endodontists place the permanent crown on the same day of visiting otherwise he will make a temporary crown while he prepares a permanent crown for you. If the tooth is damaged too much and cannot be used, then you can opt for implant-supported restoration and bridges.
Injured facial tissue
This is considered a dental emergency when punctured wounds, lacerations and torn lips, cheeks, mouth and tongue tissues or any injury inside the mouth. During such tissue injury, you should first clean the area with warm water to get rid of any blood or torn tissue. If the tongue is injured and it is bleeding, stop it with a clean gauze and apply pressure. The patient has to be admitted to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible during such dental emergency.
To reduce any pain due to the tissue injury acetaminophen can be taken as directed on the packaging label and aspirin has to be avoided because they are anticoagulants and can cause excessive bleeding.
Other dental emergencies
Any dental problem or injury around the tissues surrounding the dental family is a dental emergency and requires immediate medical treatment as it can further cause severe infection or abscess in the mouth which can be life threatening and should be dealt immediately. A dentist can perform the first stage of a root canal, or an endodontist will be referred to drain the tooth and abscess. Another alternative is to reach a hospital and get admitted to an emergency room.
Problems with Temporary Restorations
When the tooth is knocked out or fractured, the dentist might give you a temporary crown until a permanent crown is made to be put back in the place. However, sometimes it so happens that it may come off and it is important to put it back into the socket and secure it with Vaseline or toothpaste.
Seek a dentist soon as he will be able to put it back with denture adhesive and prevent it from coming off. It is advised to bite down the tooth to clean out the excessive adhesive and it will be secured into the socket for the time being until a permanent solution is made.
But wait, is it really a Dental Emergency?
We have discussed with types of dental emergencies and how to deal with it and its important to identify when its one. Typically a dentist can smooth a chipped tooth, re-cement a crown and composite bonding to repair a tooth, in regular office hours.
Still check the signs for dental emergencies by answering the following questions:
- Is it bleeding from your mouth?
- Are you in severe pain?
- Are there any loose teeth?
- Is there any swelling in the mouth or facial area when you were hit?
- Is there any bulge, swelling or knots in the gums?
If the answer to all is yes, then you must contact the dentist for an emergency appointment, as it is a dental emergency. Describe all the symptoms and any pain you might be feeling to the dentist.
When you drink hot or warm food or beverages, if experiencing any pain then try drinking cold water to relieve the pain and seek the dentist as soon as possible.
If there is hypersensitivity of teeth i.e. extreme pain is caused when drinking cold water and beverages, then contact the dentist to smooth the chipped teeth or prescribe some medicines for you to stop the pain.
Experiencing extreme pain when eating might be due to the abscess in the teeth and should be treated as a dental emergency and call the dentist’s office.
Avoiding a dental emergency
Dental emergencies cannot be avoided at all but can be prevented by having routine check-ups with the dentist so the mouth and teeth are healthy, strong and free from decay.
A mouth guard should be worn during sports activities to prevent any dental emergency. Avoid drinking too much cold beverages and eating hard foods as it can result in a dental emergency. If you are going to be away for a while and no way of contacting the dentist then do check up before leaving.
Preparedness is important
Dental emergency may happen out of blue in anywhere so you have to prepare for it every time and everywhere.
- Small container with a lid
- Emergency contact numbers for a dentist
- Soft handkerchief