Handling dental emergencies
The trauma of injuries to the mouth and teeth may be reduced if action is taken as soon as the injury occurs. The suggestions below could help to lessen pain, speed the healing process and perhaps even save a tooth following a dental emergency.
If you have a toothache, gently clean the painful area using a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Do not place an aspirin on the gums or tooth, as this may cause a burn. Apply a cold compress if you have any facial swelling. Take acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol®) and call your dentist as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know experiences a tooth being pushed either inward or outward, try to reposition it using very little pressure. Do not force the tooth into its socket. Try to get to the dentist as soon as possible. The tooth should be stabilized and held in place on the way to the dental office with a moist tissue or gauze.
First, rinse the mouth with warm water and keep it clean. Immediate dental care is necessary, so contact your dentist right away. The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the fracture and could range from smoothing out a chipped area to bonding with a tooth-colored material or placing a crown on the tooth. If there has been damage to the tooth's nerve, root canal therapy may be necessary as well.
Soft tissue injury
If the tongue, lips or cheeks are bitten, cut or punctured, there may be bleeding. Apply firm pressure to the injured area with gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, contact your dentist or physician immediately. Stitches may be necessary. If there is no bleeding, clean the area with warm water on gauze or a clean cloth. Apply an ice compress to the bruised or swollen area and contact your dentist for further instructions.
No matter what type of injury, keeping calm and getting to the dentist quickly are the best things you can do when faced with a dental emergency. To be ready for such an emergency, you can also carry a dental care kit that includes a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, saline solution, water and your dentist’s phone number. These extra preparations could go a long way toward speeding the healing process.Some information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.