Dental issues can arise at any time of day. If you have a dental emergency during working hours, you can call your dentist right away to see if he or she can set an appointment for you immediately. For acute dental problems, it’s usually best to be seen by a professional as soon as possible in order to save the injured tooth if there is one, and to get you relief from any pain you’re experiencing. If your emergency is after hours, you’ll need to check your dentist’s emergency recommendations. If your dental office has a dentist on-call, call and see what he or she suggests for your situation. If you’re not sure if your dental problem is an emergency or can wait, keep reading for more information
If you experience severe pain or consistent bleeding, visit an emergency room. Though most emergency rooms do not have a dentist on duty, the medical professionals there can help stop heavy bleeding and help relieve severe pain. As your ER doctor will likely advise, if your issue does require the attention of a dental professional, you should follow up with your dentist after the immediate problems have been treated.
Cracked Tooth or Teeth
If you have a cracked tooth, or multiple cracked teeth, you should call your dentist immediately. Cracked teeth are a serious problem. This usually means the tooth is not only cracked on the outside, but on the inside as well. Sometimes the tooth can be saved, but your dentist will need to examine it to find if it is too severely fractured or not. In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take at home. Rinse your mouth with warm water. Make sure you clean the area well. To keep the swelling down, you should put a cold compress on your face.
Toothaches can be caused by a variety of issues. Before calling your dentist, you can try a few remedies yourself. Using dental floss, gently clean any food that may be caught from in between your teeth. Using warm water, rinse your mouth thoroughly. Make sure you do not put aspirin on your teeth or gums as this could burn them, and avoid oral anesthetics until you can identify the problem. If you need a pain reliever, use a product with acetaminophen instead of aspirin (the former is an anti-inflammatory; aspirin is an anti-coagulant and can exacerbate the problem). If the issue persists, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to help diagnose the issue.
Knocked Out Adult or Permanent Teeth
If one of your teeth is knocked out, you should call a dentist immediately. Knocked out teeth can sometimes be saved, but to do so you will usually have to see a dentist within 30 minutes of the incident. In the meantime, make sure that you retrieve the lost tooth. Only hold the tooth by the crown and do not touch the roots. Carefully rinse it with water only. If you can, place the tooth gently back into its socket and keep it in place, either by holding it there or gently biting down. If you cannot replace the tooth in your mouth, you’ll need to keep it moist. You can do this by placing it in milk, not water which can cause damage after too much exposure. You can also purchase a tooth preservation kit from a drug store.
An Abscess or Infection
If you have an abscess or infection in your mouth, if let untreated it could become serious, even life-threatening. These issues should be dealt with as soon as they are noticed. Be sure to contact your dentist and get an appointment as soon as possible. If you notice the issue after hours, it won’t hurt to contact an on-call dentist and ask what they recommend. In some cases, your regular dentist may refer you to a specialist who can drain the abscess if that is the issue.
Preparing for a Dental Emergency
Because dental emergencies often require attention quickly, it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time. Consider getting a dental first aid kit for your home and vehicle. These usually include a small container, gauze, a clean cloth, and an acetaminophen painkiller. You can also get suggestions for a dental first aid kit from your dentist. It’s also a good idea to keep your dentist’s name and phone number in your dental first aid kit in case you need to contact them quickly.
For more information about what to do for a dental emergency, or to make an appointment, contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., a dental clinic in San Marcos, TX.