No matter how diligent you are about taking care of your teeth, the possibility remains that you could end up in the midst of a dental emergency. These instances can be both painful and frightening, but the key to handling them is simple: Stay calm, call your emergency dentist, and take steps to protect your tooth before your appointment. Here are some specific tips on how to make the most out of a scary situation.
Evaluate — Is It a True Dental Emergency?
Here are some common situations that indicate you should get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible:
- One of your teeth got knocked out or knocked loose
- You have a severe toothache
- You have an infected tooth (characterized by facial swelling, a pimple-like bump on the gums, or a tooth that is darker than the ones around it)
- You lost a crown or filling
- One of your teeth is broken or cracked
If you’re ever in doubt as to whether your dental problem constitutes a true emergency, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Call your dentist’s office and describe what is going on in as much detail as possible. It may also help to text or email them a photo of your tooth. Once they have an idea of what is happening, they can give you specific guidance on what to do next.
Caring for Your Tooth Before Your Dental Visit
Here are some tips to help you manage your discomfort and protect your tooth before you arrive at the dentist’s office:
- If a tooth got knocked out, handle the tooth gently. Touching it only by its crown, gently rinse off any debris and replace the tooth in your mouth or store it in a glass of milk. If you get to the dentist within an hour of when the tooth got knocked out, it’s possible your dentist will be able to reattach it.
- If you suspect you have an infection, don’t lie down flat because doing so could help the infection spread. See your dentist immediately. You may need antibiotics and/or root canal therapy.
- If you lost a crown, you may be able to reattach it with temporary dental cement. Get to your dentist within a day or two so they can repair or replace the crown.
- If a tooth is broken, try to avoid eating extremely hot or cold foods because your broken pearly white is likely to be very sensitive. Visit your dentist within a day or two.
In any dental emergency, it is okay to take mild painkillers. Just don’t put them directly on the gums because they could cause a chemical burn.
Are you experiencing a dental emergency? We hope these simple tips will help you cope with your crisis and get your oral health back on track.
About the Dentist
Dr. Nicholas Brong is proud to serve as your emergency dentist in Rochester. He has the skills necessary to handle a wide variety of problems, and he is ready to help you! To schedule an emergency appointment or ask questions about your oral health concerns, please contact our office at 507-288-1066.