Like a medical emergency, dental emergencies can happen and they can be painful and potentially serious. Dental emergencies of the teeth and gums can lead to permanent damage as well as more extensive and expensive treatments. There are dental injuries or accidents, though would be considered urgent and need to be seen as soon as possible, they wouldn’t necessarily be considered an emergency. Knowing what qualifies as a true dental emergency can help you know when you need to seek immediate medical attention for your dental injury or when you can wait for regular dental office hours.
Types of dental injuries
Dental injuries are more than likely as a result of an injury or accident. Accidents whether a sporting injury, a fall, an auto accident or other type, can do some serious damage the gums, teeth and mouth and require an immediate appointment to see the dentist as an emergency visit.
Emergency dental injuries would include:
• Knocked out teeth (avulsed)
• Lost or broken crown or filling
• Teeth forced out of position or loosened (extruded)
• Fractured teeth or teeth exposing nerves
• Gums, cheeks, lips or tongue that are affected during injury causing bleeding
• How quickly should I see a dentist?
• Severe tooth pain or tooth abscess
How quickly should I see a dentist?
Getting emergency treatment with a dentist is important when you have a dental emergency. No matter what type of dental injury or accident you have, the sooner you can get to a dentist to get treatment, the better the chances are of having a better outcome with repairing the damage or saving the tooth. If you break a tooth, fracture a tooth, and even more importantly, have a tooth that has been avulsed, getting to a dentist within thirty minutes is highly recommended. If you cannot get to one within thirty minutes, as soon as possible is the next best option. It is gives you the best chance of saving a broken or avulsed tooth to act on your injury, quickly.
How to handle your dental emergency
Because dental emergencies and accidents don’t happen to you every day, you may have no idea how to handle a broken tooth or an avulsed tooth until you can get to the office. There are some tips for handling your dental injury while in route to a dentist. If you have a dental emergency, the first thing you need to do is call your emergency dentist in Omaha. Let them know what happened and that you need to be seen right away.
Broken tooth – For a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any dirt, debris or blood. Apply gentle pressure to the tooth for about ten minutes to stop the bleeding. If it still wants to bleed, use a tea bag for gentle pressure until you can get to the dentist. Use a cold compress or ice bag over the jaw or cheek area where the broken tooth is. If you can’t get to the dentist right away, fill the broken area of the tooth with temporary dental cement. You can get this at a drug store.
Avulsed tooth – For a tooth that has been knocked out, you’ll want to handle it as little as possible. First, rinse the tooth off under warm water to remove dirt and debris. Gently try to put the tooth back in the socket; if it will fit, put a piece of gauze over it and gently put pressure on it to hold it in place. If the tooth won’t fit in the socket, put it in a container with milk or your saliva until you can get it to the doctor. You can apply a cold compress or ice pack on your cheek or jaw to reduce swelling and pain and you may want to take a pain reliever to help with pain the ice won’t control.
Tooth pain – If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, trying to get the pain and swelling under control is important for your comfort. Use an ice pack on your cheek or jaw over the aching tooth. Take over-the-counter pain medication if needed until you can get in to see the dentist.
Lost crown or filling – If a crown comes off and is still in a whole piece, rinse it off and dry it. Use some clover oil from the drug store to put on the uncapped tooth to calm any sensitivity then try to put the crown back on using toothpaste or denture cream until you can get in to the dentist. For a missing filling, you can use sugar-free gum or denture cream to fill the area until you get in. Caution: don’t use regular sugar gum. Regular sugar gum will irritate the area and cause pain.
Something stuck between your teeth causing pain – This may not seem like an emergency but if you get something lodged hard between your teeth that is causing excruciating pain and cannot remove it, this could be considered an emergency. First try to dislodge it by gently flossing and brushing. If you cannot remove it, call your dentist right away to see if they need to see you as an emergency visit. If something is stuck bad enough, it cannot only be painful, but can irritate the gums to start bleeding or cause further damage.
Knowing what is considered a true dental emergency and what is not, will help to know whether you need to get into a dentist right away or not. If you still aren’t sure, call your dentist with your concern and they can let you know if you need to come right in, or schedule an appointment at their earliest appointment. Many dentists offer after-hours emergency care. When you call their office after hours, they will direct you in how to get hold of a doctor in an emergency.
If you have a dental emergency and cannot reach a dentist, in some cases you may need to be seen in an emergency room. Especially is there is bleeding involved that you cannot stop or control or gashes that may require sutures, or a fever that could indicate an infection. Be diligent in your dental care like your medical care and do not ignore dental injuries or accidents that could cause further damage or higher dental bills.