A smile is one of the most valuable things belonging to a person, and an unexpected dental emergency can drastically change that smile in an instant. Emergencies such as a toothache that strikes past midnight or a mid-game tooth knockout are types of emergencies that can cause immediate panic, not to mention pain. But how exactly do you prepare for something you’re not even expecting? Knowing what to do in advance can lessen the pain and panic associated with a dental emergency. In some cases, a level head and prior preparation can even save a tooth.
Keep reading for some suggestions should you ever find yourself in the middle of a dental dilemma.
Phone Numbers and Making Contact
- Save your dental office’s phone number, as well as their after-hours emergency contact in your phone for quick access.
- It is also smart to place these numbers in a common area at home, ideally where you keep your other emergency service contacts.
- When a dental emergency occurs, immediately phone your dentist for instructions on what to do.
Dental Emergency Care Suggestions
- Use warm water to rinse and clean out your mouth.
- With a gentle touch, use dental floss or an interdental cleaner and carefully remove food or other debris that may be caught between the aching tooth and the one next to it.
- DO NOT put aspirin or any other painkiller against your gums where it aches as this can burn your gum tissue.
- If after taking these steps the toothache is still there, try to get seen by your dentist to evaluate your condition.
Note: Don’t rely on painkillers; they only temporarily relieve the pain and don’t solve the actual problem.
- Broken tooth:
- First, use warm water to rinse and clean out your mouth.
- Next, apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
- Then, place a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to help reduce the swelling.
Note: If you still have any part of the broken tooth, wrap it in wet gauze, and bring it with you to your dentist
- Avulsed or knocked-out tooth:
- In order to have successful replantation, getting to your dentist as fast as possible is of great importance.
- If you still have your tooth, hold it by the crown and rinse the root in water. Be sure not to scrub the tooth or try to remove any attached pieces of gum tissue.
- Just before you travel to your dentist, gently insert and hold your tooth in its socket. If that’s not an option, place the tooth in a cup of milk.
- Objects stuck in between teeth:
- Never use anything sharp in an attempt to remove foreign objects stuck between your teeth.
- With a gentle hand, try to carefully remove the debris with dental floss.
- If you can’t eliminate the object with floss, get in touch with your dentist.
- Bites/wounds to the lip or tongue :
- Using a clean cloth, gently clean the affected area.
- Then, apply a cold compress to your wound to reduce swelling that may have occurred.
- You may be able to reduce tongue bleeding by carefully pulling it forward and putting pressure on the wound with gauze.
- If there is uncontrollable bleeding, get to a hospital emergency room or clinic as soon as you can.
- Possible broken jaw:
- Make arrangements to get to the hospital emergency room as fast as possible.
- Stabilize your jaw by carefully holding it in place with your hands or a bandage, scarf, necktie, or bandana. Keeping it steadied may prevent any further damage until you can get to the E.R.
- Wrap the material under your jaw and over the top of your head, but make sure it’s not too tight. Know that you may feel like throwing up because of your injury, so if you use a bandage, place it in a way where it can easily be removed.
- Gently use cold compresses against your jaw to help control swelling on your way to emergency care.
Knowing what to do in the event of a dental emergency can make all the difference in the outcome. Preparation over panic just may save you pain and ultimately, tooth loss. Whether it is a broken tooth or broken jaw, being as prepared as possible will greatly benefit you and your smile in the long run.