Dental emergencies tend to happen when you least expect them. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency could be the difference between saving a tooth and losing one. Learn about common dental emergencies and how to handle them properly.
Knocked-Out Tooth: More than 5 million teeth get knocked out annually. Even though teeth are securely held in place by their roots, significant impact to the face can knock out or break a tooth. When a permanent tooth gets knocked out, the tooth needs to stay moist to keep it alive. Teeth die within 15 minutes of being knocked out when not cared for properly. If possible, try to put the tooth back in the socket without touching its root. If the tooth doesn't stay in the socket, place the tooth between one of the cheeks and gums. Alternatively, you can store the tooth in a container of milk. Contact a dentist immediately to have the tooth repaired.
Cracked Tooth: Even though teeth are the hardest part of our bodies, everyday foods and objects can break them. Biting down wrong on an ice cube, hard candies, popcorn kernels, or oral piercings can result in a cracked tooth. Cracked teeth can cause significant discomfort and make eating incredibly painful. If your tooth cracks, rinse out your mouth with warm water as soon as possible. Apply an ice pack to the area of the face the cracked tooth is on to alleviate discomfort and prevent swelling. Call your dental office promptly and schedule an appointment to avoid further damage or infection.
Soft Tissue Injuries: While eating or participating in recreational activities, it isn't uncommon to accidentally bite your tongue or lip. For minor injuries, clean the area with water and apply a cold compress. If you bit through your lip or you suspect you may need stitches, contact your dental office. If it is after hours, go to an urgent care facility.
Severe Toothaches: Toothaches can come and go. However, if a tooth is causing persistent pain, a dental exam can identify any issues. In the meantime, rinse your mouth out with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food stuck in the teeth. Never put aspirin on the tooth or gums surrounding it.
Objects Stuck Between Teeth: Food and other small objects can sneak their way in between the teeth and be very difficult to remove. Use floss to guide the stuck item gently out. Never use sharp objects or tools to remove anything between the teeth to avoid causing further damage. If the object will not come out on its own, schedule a dentist appointment.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Dental Emergencies:
- Wear a mouthguard while participating in sports
- Do not chew on ice, popcorn kernels & hard candies
- Never use your teeth to tear packages, open bottles, or carry objects
We want to help you with your dental emergency and ensure you receive the best care possible. Our dental team will evaluate the situation and create a plan to fix your smile and alleviate your discomfort. Take action as soon as possible to put your smile at the best chance for a full recovery.