Dental emergencies can come up out of nowhere, causing physical pain, cosmetic damage, and financial woes. The best way to prepare for a dental emergency is to plan ahead so that if something happens, you can act immediately. Having a plan will reduce stress and pain, and may mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.
We’ve put together an overview of the most common dental emergencies, as well as tips for how to handle them.
Common Dental Emergencies
Various types of trauma can cause you to lose a tooth when you least expect it. If you are in an accident that causes one of your teeth to be knocked loose, the first thing you should do is find the tooth, rinse it under cool water, and gently set it back in the socket and hold it in place with gauze.
If you can’t put it back in your mouth, keep it in a cup of milk until you can get to the dentist. The sooner you get to the dentist, the more likely that they will be able to save the tooth.
Cracked, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth:
If you discover that your tooth has been compromised and is cracked, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. You can take acetaminophen for pain, and if your tooth is jagged or sharp, you can temporarily cover it with a piece of chewing gum.
The good news is that your dentist has many techniques for repairing your tooth, including bonding, caps or crowns, and veneers.
Crowns are durable solutions to many tooth problems, but they don’t last forever. If you lose or break your crown, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. You may be able to temporarily reattach your crown with a bit of petroleum jelly. If not, store it in a safe place until your dentist can reattach it.
Painful Tooth Decay or Infection:
Cavities can sometimes fester for months without infection, and then, all of a sudden, they become extremely painful. If your tooth has become painful or infected, don’t wait to make a dental appointment. You may take acetaminophen for pain, and avoid hard, crunchy foods.
A gum abscess is caused by infection between the teeth and the gums. If you are experiencing gum pain, inflammation, or tenderness, call your dentist immediately. Treatment involves draining the abscess, a deep cleaning, and often antibiotics to treat the infection.
One of the best ways to prepare for a dental emergency is to form a good relationship with your dentist today, before an emergency occurs. Visit your dentist every six months for cleanings, x-rays, and check-ups so that both you and your dentist are prepared in the event of an emergency.
For a healthy, happy smile that will last a lifetime, we urge you to call our office today to schedule an appointment.