When a dental emergency strikes, knowing what to do can not only alleviate pain but also mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.
At Northcote Dental, we understand the importance of acting swiftly and correctly in such situations, and we’re here to guide you through the initial steps to take in the event of a dental emergency.
Common Dental Emergencies and First-Response Actions:
Toothaches: Rinse your mouth with warm water and gently use dental floss to remove any food lodged near the sore tooth. If the pain persists, contact your dentist. Avoid placing aspirin directly on the tooth or gums, as this may burn the tissue.
Chipped or Broken Teeth: Save any pieces of the tooth that you can find. Rinse your mouth and the fragments with warm water. If bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Knocked-Out Tooth: Retrieve the tooth by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), not the root. Rinse the tooth with water if it’s dirty but do not scrub or remove any tissue fragments. If possible, try to gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, place the tooth in a cup of milk or a saltwater solution and get to your dentist as quickly as you can.
Lost Filling or Crown: If a filling falls out, place a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity temporarily. For a lost crown, attempt to slip the crown back over the tooth, using dental cement, toothpaste, or a denture adhesive as a temporary hold.
Abscess: Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. They can cause serious damage to the tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated. Rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution several times a day, and see a dentist promptly.
Soft-Tissue Injuries: For injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, rinse the mouth with a mild salt-water solution. If bleeding is present, press a damp piece of gauze to the site for about 15 to 20 minutes. To control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
When to See a Dentist:
Some dental emergencies require immediate attention from a dentist. If you experience severe pain, ongoing bleeding, or a traumatic injury to your face or mouth, it is imperative to see a dentist as soon as possible. Northcote Dental offers emergency dental services and will strive to accommodate emergency patients with same-day appointments.