Whether it’s a blow to the mouth that knocked out a tooth or sudden persistent oral pain, a dental emergency can happen at any time. You can take simple steps to try and prevent these problems, of course (such as brushing every day or wearing a mouthguard), but when the worst does happen, it’s important not to panic; you need to focus on keeping your smile as safe and comfortable as possible until you can see your dentist. Keep reading to learn how to recognize dental emergencies – and more importantly, how you can treat them before your appointment!
How Do You Know If You Have a True Dental Emergency?
Defining a “true” dental emergency can be difficult because there are so many different kinds. Broken enamel, for example, is very different from a toothache caused by an oral infection. You should consider your situation an emergency if your notice:
- Damage to your teeth. (You can sometimes wait to have a small chip or crack examined, but large breaks usually require immediate attention.)
- Severe oral pain that doesn’t go away with at-home care.
- Persistent swelling along the jaw and mouth.
- Loss of your adult teeth.
What Can You Do During a Dental Emergency?
First, you need to call your dentist right away. Describe your symptoms as clearly and precisely as possible so that they can decide whether or not you need same-day treatment. Once you’ve made your appointment, your biggest concerns while you wait should be limiting the damage and controlling the pain.
Here are some tips for dealing with specific emergencies:
- Swollen Gums or Face: Such swelling could be the sign of an oral infection. You can try and kill harmful bacteria in your mouth by rinsing with salt water. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, and always keep your head upright, even while in bed.
- Pain When You Bite: If a particular tooth feels uncomfortable whenever you bite down with it, it may be a symptom of any number of oral health issues. Until you can have it examined, avoid chewing on it; otherwise, it might crack or even be lost altogether.
- Physical Trauma: The consequences of a physical injury to the mouth can range from minor to severe; in some cases, your dentist might even recommend calling the emergency room. You can use an ice pack to keep any pain or swelling under control. If a tooth was knocked out, rinse it off and put it back in its socket (or preserve it in milk); you’ll generally have a very short amount of time to try and have it replanted.
Once you’ve been examined by the emergency dentist, they can design a treatment to reverse the damage. Get the care you need right away so you can find relief for your pain and keep your smile whole!
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong entered the dental field in 2012. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of California in San Francisco, and he’s been trained in placing dental implants and practicing laser dentistry. These skills allow him to provide his patients in Rochester high-quality dental care and solutions for all manner of emergencies. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Zumbro Family Dental, visit our website or call (507) 288-1066.