A dental emergency is a frightening and often painful experience. Seeking treatment as soon as possible is is the best way to alleviate pain and to give the effected tooth or teeth the best possible chance of survival.
Teeth can become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on a hard object. Sometimes fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact your dentist immediately!
Pain from a dental emergency will almost always get worse without treatment, and dental issues, particularly infections can also cause other serious health issues!
Possible dental emergencies and how to deal with them
Tooth knocked out (avulsed)
It is essential to see a dentist immediately. Once out of the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.
Here are some steps to take:
Call your dentist immediately.
Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
If possible, place it back into its socket – if it can not, tuck it into the inside of your cheek pouch.
If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
Get to your dentist, quickly and safely.
They will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, however, root canal therapy might be necessary.
When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth still attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to call your dentist immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Your dentist will reposition the tooth and may be able to splints the tooth to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy might be required.
Lost filling or crown
Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. The tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure.
What to do: Make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that may be recemented. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, other teeth may shift or sustain damage.
If your dentist is not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:
Clean the crown, and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at a local pharmacy.
If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.
Your dentist will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be recemented to the tooth. If decay is noted (which often is the reason the crown became loose) this will be treated and a new crown will be made.
Cracked or broken teeth
Teeth are strong, but they may still fracture, crack or break. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting.
What to do:
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible!
If a portion of the tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:
Call your dentist.
Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
Place a cold, damp dishtowel on your cheek if there is any swelling or pain.
Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if you cannot see us immediately.
Take a topical pain reliever.
The nature of the break or fracture will dictate what your dentist is able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy is often the most effective way to retain the tooth. Some fractures may cause either eventual or immediate loss of a tooth. The extent of damage from a fracture can often be determined with radiographs or a CT scan.
If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our office or your restorative dentist.
For more information call our office at (727) 586-2681.