What to do in a Dental Emergency
A true dental emergency necessitates a visit to an emergency dentist. Do not go to the emergency room as these facilities do not have the proper personnel nor dental instruments to treat dental emergencies. Furthermore, emergency room hospitals are nowhere near as affordable as emergency dentists. Meet with an emergency dentist, have your problem treated as quickly as possible and you will be able to move on with life without considerable pain. Let's take a look at exactly what you should do when a dental emergency arises.
Ask for Help
Do not try to tend to your dental emergency on your own. You need the assistance of a legitimate dental professional with years of experience treating patients on an emergency basis. Make sure your dentist is willing to treat patients dealing with dental emergencies as some operate on an appointment-only basis.
Do not pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 for a dental emergency unless your problem extends beyond the teeth and gums or if you were in a car accident or another significant accident. Only an emergency dentist can tend to your tooth and gum problems. Emergency room personnel in hospitals do not have the training, experience, or equipment necessary to properly treat the teeth and gums.
What You can do on Your Own
You might be able to do a few things on your own to minimize your pain and make it that much easier for the dentist to treat your dental emergency. The first step is to keep a level head. Remain calm, assess the situation, and be positive. If you are experiencing considerable pain, add a teaspoon of water to a cup of hot water, swish it around as you would with mouthwash, and spit it out. This combination should alleviate discomfort and decrease swelling. Swelling can also be treated with a cold compress. Compresses numb the irritation and prevent bleeding.
A Knocked-out Tooth
If your dental emergency is a knocked-out tooth, do not throw it out! Pick up the tooth and hold onto it until you can fill a mug or glass with milk. Place the tooth in the milk. Bring the glass to the dentist to see if the tooth can be put back in place. Some find taking acetaminophen also helps decrease the pain. However, the use of a numbing gel is a mistake as it has the potential to harm the gums.
How to Proceed With an Abscessed Tooth
If you have an abscessed tooth, you should know this condition has the potential to cause significant harm. Do not ignore a dental abscess, especially if it is severe. This pocket of pus has caused an infection that can lead to fever, rapid fluctuations in temperature, toothaches, tooth sensitivity, swelling, and tender lymph nodes. This is a legitimate dental emergency. The last thing you want is for the infection to move on down into the jaw, spread to the surrounding tissue, and even move to other portions of the body. You can improve the situation by swishing some saltwater around in your mouth. Rinsing with salt water will bring the pus to the surface and decrease the pain.
What to do if Your Face Swells
Face swelling is cause for concern as it can indicate a major dental infection that requires prompt treatment by an experienced dentist. This condition rarely improves on its own so do not fall into the DIY trap. You might have an infected tooth, a gum infection, or even a bone infection. Time is of the essence. Meet with your emergency dentist as soon as possible. You can do your part to prevent the situation from worsening by remaining upright. Do not lie flat on the ground, even to sleep. Drinking fluids while battling an infection also reduces the chances of additional complications.
Pain While Biting
Pain during biting is sometimes referred to as cracked tooth syndrome. If caught early enough, a crown can be applied and there will be that much less of a chance for a root canal or even a complete loss of the tooth. The crown stabilizes the tooth so the cracking doesn't worsen. It is also possible there is pain when biting as opposed to tooth pain. If the underlying problem is grinding during the day or night, you do not have a dental emergency. In some cases, pain when biting is the result of a pulpal abscess. Try to visit the dentist within the week. Avoid chewing on the tooth in question as there might be a crack that is close to going through the entirety of the tooth.
Some Dental Emergencies are Preventable
Though you cannot prevent all dental emergencies, you can be proactive and do a few things on your own to reduce the chances of dental emergencies from occurring in the first place. Above all, you should follow your dentist's advice and guidance. If you have been delaying a filling, crown, cleaning, root canal or another necessary dental restoration/procedure, you are putting your oral health at risk. Visit the dentist at least once every six months. This frequency of visits gives the dentist an opportunity to evaluate your oral health. If the dentist determines you have a minor issue, do not neglect it. Even something like a loose filling or crown or a sign of infection can start out as a small problem and gradually morph into a major dental health problem that proves costly.
A consistent and thorough oral health hygiene routine will also bolster tooth strength, greatly reducing the chances of a broken or chipped tooth. It will also help to reduce the number of hard and chewy foods you eat. These comparably tough items pose a direct threat to tooth integrity. Eating soft food is especially important for senior citizens with aged teeth that have endured wear and tear across the years. Though some crunchy and sticky snacks might taste amazing, nothing feels as good as healthy.
Loud Family Dental
If you have a dental emergency or simply need a 6-month examination and cleaning, our dental team is at your service. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.