You’re all pumped up, thinking to yourself that you can definitely do those skateboard flips your next-door neighbor has been flaunting off. You’re finally off work and in the dim light of your corner street lamp, off you go and then, thump!
Immense pain (and embarrassment) fills you as you are curled up in pain. You taste blood in your mouth and then you realize that a tooth got knocked off. So aside from a badly bruised ego, you also got a painful jaw and a broken tooth with it.
Dealing with Dental Emergencies
Accidents happen and when they do, they usually don’t come with a warning.
Your sporty pursuits may have ended up knocking you (and your tooth) down, but do not despair. You only need a reputable dentist of a premier 24-hour dental clinic who can readily attend to your dental emergency.
Because accidents do not happen at your convenience, access to a 24/7 emergency dental clinic is a much-needed reassurance.
It is a welcome thought that your dental emergencies could be expertly attended to by experienced dentists on weekends and even on holidays. Even more important is the fact that you won’t need to bear the pain for long as you can easily get the urgent care and attention that you need.
Below is a list of usual dental situations that require immediate attention:
When you’ve unfortunately developed cavities and tooth decay, you will definitely need relief from the pain whether you are an adult or a child.
Some toothaches come and go in their early stages but always get worse. Toothache will usually bring a feeling of pain in and around your teeth. It may even extend to your jaw, behind the cheeks, the ear, or the sinuses, depending on where the affected tooth is.
You may also feel slight or excruciating pain that may arrive suddenly. It is best to have a dental check as soon as you feel any lingering pain in case there is an emergency coming. Ignoring the pain can lead to infection, abscess and continuous throbbing pain.
To get momentary relief, try the following:
- Rinse the affected site with water.
- Try to remove the debris from obvious cavities with a toothbrush or dental floss but never with any sharp objects.
- If there is swelling, place a cold compress on the outside of the affected area.
- You may also take pain relief medication that you know are safe for you.
The best course of action is to go see a dentist at the soonest possible time.
2. Swollen Gum or Face
Swollen gums or a swollen face usually indicates infection and at their worst be life-threatening. This may cause abscesses and further complications such as blockage of your airways or infection of your brain. There are instances when dental infections have been known to cause death so it is best to seek emergency care when swelling occurs.
3. Knocked Tooth
An avulsed tooth, is one of the most serious dental emergencies for permanent teeth. However, if handled quickly, it may still be fixed and replanted. Baby teeth should never be replanted.
Since the nerves, blood vessels, and supporting tissues are also damaged in cases when a tooth is knocked out, you will also often need to undergo root canal.
To save your knocked-out tooth, it must be handled carefully and quickly.
- If the tooth is dirty or has fallen to the ground, do not wipe it but rinse it with milk or saliva instead. Tap water will kill the cells on the surface of the tooth which are critical for survival and success.
- Hold it by the crown and try to put it back in its socket. Some force may be necessary to get it down.
- If it doesn’t slip in easily, just keep it moist by putting it in between your cheek and gum or get the tooth in position as best as you can.
- For children who may not be able to hold it inside their mouth without the risk of swallowing it, place it in a cup of milk, or their own saliva to keep it moist until you reach the dentist.
Your pediatric dentist can save the kid’s tooth. However, if it is still a baby tooth, it will not be replanted to avoid damaging the permanent teeth that will grow in time.
4. Broken Tooth
An accident or biting into something hard can cause your tooth to be chipped, cracked or broken. When this happens, try to find the broken pieces and save it so you can bring it with you to the dentist. Some fragments can still be invisibly bonded back together.
If the tooth is chaffing the insides of your cheeks or tongue with its rough edges, go to the dentist immediately to get fast relief. The same goes when you feel sensitivity on your broken teeth as this means that the tooth’s inside layers have been exposed. A dentist will need to cover it to stop it from throbbing and sensitivity.
5. Irritation from Braces or Retainers
When you have braces or retainers, there is a chance that it might irritate the insides of your mouth or scrape your tongue.
If the wire is the cause of irritation, cover it with a piece of gauze, a tiny cotton ball, or soft wax. If it becomes embedded in the cheek, tongue, or gum tissue, do not attempt to remove it. It is ideal that your dentist or orthodontist takes care of your dental braces and the problems that arise with it.
Prevention and early detection of tooth problems are key to avoid painful dental incidents. It is highly encouraged that you maintain a religious dental care regimen as well as pay regular visits to your dental clinic to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
As for dental accidents and emergencies, it is imperative that you seek immediate help to make sure that your teeth and gums will be attended to with utmost care and attention. So when you make an extra effort to care for your teeth, your smile will definitely be brighter and happier.
Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.