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Dental emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, don’t panic! Read on for guidelines on how to treat the most common dental emergencies immediately after they occur and before you can get to a dentist. If you are still unsure of what to do or are experiencing any kind of dental emergency, please feel free to call and ask us at Shaun Lee, DDS!
What To Do for the Most Common Types of Dental Emergencies?
Knocked Out Tooth
A knocked-out tooth can often be saved if replaced within 30 minutes to an hour, so it is important to act quickly. First, be sure to touch the tooth only by the crown (the “top” or visible part of the tooth), never the roots. If it is dirty, rinse it gently with milk if possible (water only if not), and do not scrub or wrap it in any kind of fabric or cloth as this can damage the tooth. Try to slip the tooth back into the socket but do not force it; if it does not go in easily simply place the tooth in a glass of milk or in your mouth, keeping it moist at all times. Get to the dentist as soon as you can!
Crown or Filling Fell Out:
If your crown or filling falls out, first remove it from your mouth so you don’t accidentally swallow or inhale it, or damage your other teeth by chewing on it. Try to save the crown or filling if possible to bring to the dentist.
If a filling has fallen out, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to make sure the tooth isn’t infected or have other issues that you should be aware of. Be sure to keep your teeth very clean in the time before you can visit the dentist; if it is too painful to brush, try swishing your mouth in warm salt water to keep the mouth clean. Your dentist will determine the best course of action thereafter, such as if a simple replacement filling is sufficient or if the tooth requires more extensive restoration.
If a crown falls out, it’s a good idea to temporarily place it back on your tooth until you can visit the dentist using over-the-counter dental cream, which can be found at most drugstores. Do not bite down on it too hard as that can damage the crown. Keep the crown to bring to the dentist if possible, so that he can assess whether it can still be used or if it needs to be replaced entirely. Make every effort to get a crown replaced as quickly as possible, because, without the protective crown, the tooth is now greatly exposed to bacteria and debris which can cause infection and further damage, and will also likely be extremely sensitive.
Cracked or Fractured Tooth:
A cracked or fractured tooth is a serious issue, usually indicating that damage has occurred to the inside of the tooth as well as the outside. Call your dentist for an emergency appointment immediately, and if you cannot see him right away be sure to clean your mouth by gently rinsing with warm salt water. If the cracked tooth is caused by facial trauma, apply a cold compress to the area to minimize swelling. Your dentist will need to take an x-ray to properly diagnose the condition of the tooth to determine the best course of treatment, typically either a crown if no damage has been done to the inside of the tooth, or possibly root canal therapy if it has.
Extreme Toothache or Pain:
For extreme tooth pain that you cannot determine any particular cause of, try rinsing the mouth with warm salt water and flossing gently. Do not put any kind of medication or painkillers directly on the affected area. See your dentist so that he can examine and diagnose the cause and recommend treatment so that you can be relieved of pain and get back to your daily life!