• DENTAL EMERGENCIES

  • IN AN EMERGENCY; 

    • Stay calm. Focus on stopping the bleeding and protecting the injured tooth or area by following the appropriate instructions in this section.
    • Never take aspirin or ibuprofen for a dental emergency because they are anticoagulants which can cause excessive bleeding. To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
    • Injuries to your teeth and gums can result in infection or other complications -- so make sure you see your Dentist.

    If your emergency is life-threatening, dial 911 for Emergency Medical Services or go immediately to a hospital emergency room.

     If you experience any of these symptoms or any other ones that impair your normal activities seek professional help as soon as possible.

    Here are some other tips:

     Emergency dentistry is needed when one of the following situations arises:

    • A tooth is broken or dislodged by trauma, accident or chewing;
    • A debilitating tooth ache occurs;
    • A dental restoration breaks loose.

     

  • TOOTHACHE: Pain or inflammation in or around the tooth, often caused by tooth decay or infection.

    CAUSES: Toothache can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease. Examples include biting into something hard, flossing, getting something stuck in between the teeth, or braces. In children, it's a regular part of the developmental process.   

    WHAT TO DO: Rinse your mouth out with warm water to clean out any debris or foreign matter. Gently use dental floss or an inter-dental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between your teeth.

    Some people try placing an aspirin or other kinds of painkiller on a painful tooth, but this is not a sound practice. These kinds of substances can actually burn your gum tissue.

  • BROKEN: For a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm or salt water. Apply a cold compress to check near the broken tooth.

    FRACTURED: If a tooth is fractured, rinse mouth with warm water and use an ice pack or cold compress to reduce swelling. Use ibuprofen, not aspirin, for pain. Immediately contact your dentist.

    KNOCKED OUT: Locate the tooth immediately; don't leave it at the site of the accident. Handle the tooth carefully when you pick it up, and never touch the root of the tooth, only the crown. Use only water to gently rinse off any dirt. Do not use soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub or dry the tooth, and don’t wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.

    Bring the tooth with you to your emergency appointment ideally. It's best to see the doctor within 30 minutes; however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.

    TRAPPED FOOD OR OBJECTS BETWEEN TEETH: Try gently removing the debris with dental floss. Be careful not to cut your gums. Never use a sharp instrument such as a needle or pin to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can't dislodge the object using dental floss, contact your dentist.

     
  • LOST FILLING OR CROWN:
    Schedule an appointment with your dentist. You can relieve pain caused by air in contact with the exposed part of your tooth by using clove oil (available over-the-counter in pharmacies and supermarkets). Just dip a cotton swab in clove oil and apply it to the exposed part of your tooth. Putting an ice pack on your face over the area that hurts also may relieve the pain.
     
    FILLING CAME OUT:
    • If you found the filling, put it in a safe place and take it with you when you see your dentist.
    • To make your tooth more comfortable, fill the hole in your tooth with tooth wax or cement (available over-the-counter at your pharmacy). Do not use any household adhesives in your mouth.
    CROWN CAME OUT:
    • If you found the crown, you may temporarily replace it yourself until you see your dentist.
    • Gently clean any debris from the inside of your crown.
    • To the inside of your crown, apply denture adhesive, dental cement or toothpaste before slipping the crown back in place to protect your tooth.
  • GUMS AND SOFT TISSUES

     

     BITTEN TONGUE OR LIPS: 
    • A small cut (less than 1/4 inch) is likely to heal itself.
    • Carefully wipe the area clean with gauze or a cloth. Apply a cold compress, ice pack, or small bag of frozen fruit or vegetables to the area to minimize swelling.
    • If the cut is larger than 1/4 inch, or if bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of cold treatment, go to the emergency room.
    BURNED ROOF OF MOUTH: 
    • Eating very hot food (like pizza) can burn the roof of your mouth. These painful sores and blisters typically heal on their own. If they have not healed after 10 days, see your dentist.
    • In the meantime, use warm salt water rinses (1/8 of a teaspoon in 8 ounces of water) after meals to keep the area clean. If pain relief is needed use a topical oral anesthetic (found over-the-counter at your pharmacy). You can also take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.