At Lynn Dental Care, we understand how scary an oral health emergency can be. Recent surveys show that most Americans admit to being unprepared to handle such an emergency. At Lynn Dental Care, it is important to us that our clients are informed and prepared, so here are a few quick guides for how to handle some common dental emergencies:
Loose or Partially Dislodged Tooth
If your tooth suddenly becomes loose or partially dislodged, you should contact your dentist immediately. Seeking professional health care as soon as possible gives you the best chance of being able to save the tooth. Until you can reach your dentist, you should apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth as close as possible to the affected area. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you need extra pain relief before reaching your dentist.
The first thing you should do if you or a friend has knocked a tooth out is retrieve the tooth and avoid touching the root. You should hold the tooth by the crown that would normally be exposed and gently rinse the roots if they are dirty. If the tooth is an adult or permanent tooth, you can try to place the tooth back in the socket. If it is not reinserting easily, don’t force it. Instead, place it between the cheek and gums, in a container of milk, or in an ADA approved tooth preservation kit until you can reach a dentist who will attempt to re-implant it. If the tooth is a baby tooth, the dentist will determine whether or not the tooth should be re-implanted. Either way, your best chance for saving the tooth is to preserve it properly and seek professional dental care within an hour.
Severe Bite to Tongue or Lip
Injuries to soft oral tissue, including lip, tongue, cheek, and gums can result in mild to excessive bleeding. The first thing to do is gently clean the area with water and follow by rinsing with a mild salt-water solution. Applying a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the affected area will help decrease swelling and bleeding and relieve pain. Applying pressure to the area with damp gauze or a tea bag will also help slow bleeding. If bleeding is excessive or will not stop, continue to apply pressure until you can reach emergency care.
Object Stuck Between Teeth
If an object gets lodged between your teeth, you should begin by carefully and gently attempting to remove it using dental floss. You should never use a pin or other sharp household object to attempt to remove something from your teeth. This could cut soft oral tissue or scratch the surface of your teeth. If you cannot remove the object by flossing, give your dentist call. Your dentist will recommend immediate or delayed care based upon your unique situation.
It can be difficult to know whether a health problem concerning your teeth, gums, or mouth needs emergency care. For any dental emergency, your first resource should be your dentist. Most dentists have time in their everyday schedule for patients who require emergency care, so your first step should be to contact your dentist and give them as many details about the situation as possible. If your dentist is not available, you should seek care at the nearest emergency room.