- Published Date: 06 Sep 2020
- Updated Date: 21 Sep 2020
- Reading Time: 7 min
A dental emergency can come out of nowhere, and it can certainly be a terrifying experience. You try to look after your teeth as best you can, but sometimes, life throws you a curveball. Handling a tooth problem of any kind is something that you want to do as quickly as possible. There’s nothing worse than having any type of teeth, gum or jaw pain and so it’s worth knowing what to do if you’re ever put into a situation like this. Here’s a helpful guide of what to do when a dental emergency occurs.
My Tooth Has Been Knocked Out!
Whether it’s caused by a drunken fall or during a sports game where you’ve been tackled to the ground, saving your tooth is the most important thing you can do. Having your tooth knocked out, or any amount for that matter can be a jarring experience and one that you’ll likely not instantly realize. Whenever you find yourself in an accident, it’s always good to do an all-over body check to make sure everything is where it should be. The reason for this is that if your tooth has been knocked out and it’s somewhere lying around on the ground, then you’ll want to notice it. A tooth can get knocked out by an impact, or it could fall out because of gum or dental problems that have led to it naturally falling out.
A tooth that has been knocked out, whatever the case is considered a dental emergency. Not only for the obvious reason as to why but also because the chances of saving your tooth would decrease after a certain amount of time. To be accurate, you have about 30-60 minutes before those chances start decreasing. It’s important that you are making every effort to save the tooth so that you have an opportunity to potentially get it fixed back into your mouth. It’s better to save the natural tooth if you can as opposed to having one that’s false.
The first thing that can tend to happen when you lose a tooth is that you start to panic. You might be bleeding from the mouth or others around you might be panicking as you realize the situation you’re in. Just like any accident that you find yourself in and where you might have caused injury to yourself, it’s important not to panic. That’s easier said than done until you’re in the situation but panicking isn’t going to help the situation. If anything, it will just make matters worse, and it could end up delaying the help you do get when it comes to saving the tooth. Keep a level head and try to breathe through any panic that you might feel building inside of you. You are likely to feel terrified, but panicking isn’t going to help.
Ring Your Dentist Immediately
Regardless of the time, a lot of dentists will be available to you, no matter what time it is. If your dentist isn’t, then there’s likely to an alternative. Make sure that you ring your dentist’s practice immediately on realizing that your tooth has come out. Explain the situation, and they’ll likely do everything they can to see you as soon as you get to them, or they could suggest ringing the local emergency services to you to find the nearest one available and ready for you. Calling your dentist is the most important part because you need to alert them that they’ll be dealing with a medical emergency. If they can, they’ll want to have all the information available to do everything they can to protect your tooth.
Handle You Tooth Carefully
If you’re in the fortunate position where you still have your tooth, because some end up swallowing it back accident or simply losing it, handle it carefully. You want to keep hold of the tooth at the crown, rather than touching any part of the tooth that would usually be concealed by the gum area. It’s essential to do this so that you’re not going to cause any further damage to the tooth itself. You should rinse the tooth in water if it’s hit the ground or become dirty in any way. Don’t use anything other than water though as this could affect the health of the tooth and how quickly it deteriorates. Avoid wiping any form of tissue over the nerve endings of your tooth either as this could cause problems with the tooth’s health.
Preserve The Tooth
It seems odd to do this, but if you can, it’s important to hold the tooth in the socket that it came out of. This can help to improve its chances of surviving and being placed back into the socket it came out of. Our bodies are certainly incredible things and so if you can, try to keep it in place until you get to the dentist. If for any reason that it’s not possible, you want to put the tooth into a container of milk or your own saliva. Either or is going to be helpful in preserving the tooth for as long as possible.
Ease Any Swelling
After getting your tooth knocked out, your mouth and gums are likely to react in the form of swelling and possibly bleeding. You want to stem the bleeding as quickly as you can and to wash your mouth out with warm water. This can help stop the bleeding and helps wash your mouth out. If you’ve got the opportunity to do so, applying a compress to the face or the ara of your injury is going to help to reduce some of the swelling. You want to leave this on for as long as possible and as soon as it happens. It means that when you come to arrive at the dentist, a lot of the swelling might have gone down and it can be easier for the dentist to then treat you. A cold compress is likely going to be a welcoming appreciation anyway as you’ll probably start feeling a lot of pain soon enough.
What If The Tooth Can’t Be Saved?
Even though every effort would be made to save the tooth, it doesn’t always happen. However, with the advancements that have been made in dentistry, there are plenty of options for you to look at. Dental implants are available to help replace the tooth, and depending on what you choose, it can be made to look like it’s your actual tooth. The capabilities of dentists today has certainly changed over the last decade or so. There’s a lot more available, and even though losing a tooth can be heartbreaking, there are still options available.
No matter what your budget, there are options out there, so it’s worth discussing these with your dentist when needed.
My Tooth Has Been Broken/Chipped Or Cracked
Our teeth are very strong, but on occasion, there could be something that damages the tooth due to biting down onto a hard piece of food, for example. With age, your teeth might start to weaken, and there could be natural chips and cracks that happen over the years. When it comes to small chips, it can usually be fixed by simply filling it in. However, there might be occasions where that broken bit of tooth or chip is too big. When that happens, dental crowns are an available option to fix your teeth. Dental crowns can help cover the tooth using different types of materials, depending on what you go for. This effectively covers the chipped or broken tooth so that it looks like new but also causes you no further pain.
If you’ve already had a tooth filling or crown before, then you will certainly know what dental pain feels like. The larger the tooth filling you have, the more compromised your teeth become and eventually, this will lead to cracks. When your tooth cracks, unfortunately, there’s likely no other option than to extract the tooth and replace it. It’s important that you get this done sooner, rather than later. A cracked tooth is not going to be painless after all.
Again, these tips of problems might not warrant an emergency dental appointment, but if you’re in severe pain, it’s essential to get in touch and flag it as an emergency so that you can get it sorted as soon as possible.
What To Do With General Tooth Pain Or Abscesses
Any type of tooth pain is never an enjoyable experience. Even for those who look after their teeth and have never had to endure a tooth extraction or perhaps a filling before, can experience it at some point in their life. Having any pain that comes from the tooth itself or the gums can make life a little miserable. It’s something that can affect the entire body, whether you realize it or not. If you’re experiencing regular tooth pain, then it could be the reason for many other issues that you have been feeling in your body, like drowsiness or sickness.
You can get tooth pain from a variety of things. It could be when you’re consuming drinks or food, whether it be hot or cold. Perhaps you bit into something too hard, or your teeth might be sensitive to drinks that are too cold or too hot. These experiences are all signs and symptoms of tooth decay or having exposed teeth where the enamel has been worn down. Anything from the grinding of teeth during your sleep or sensitivity during a change in weather is going to be something you don’t want to continue experiencing.
These types of pain are something that warrants you to make an emergency appointment, but they definitely should be an encouragement to book into your dentist. You can also have abscesses that form and that are a result of you not getting treatment. A pocket of pus can form, and that’s not something that you want to have popping in your mouth or even happening on a regular basis. The signs and symptoms that can come from this are consistent throbbings, you might have a smelly breath or find that your jaw or face has swollen. You could even experience fever, and if this isn’t seen to by a dentist, it could cause a lot more problems. It’s not something that will heal itself, and so you want to get it sorted as soon as possible.
When Is Best To Contact A Dentist?
As much as you can feel like you’re taking up valuable time due to something you might think is a small problem, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to your teeth, even though there are options out there, it’s an expensive cost that you might want to avoid where you can. Contacting your dentist just to explain what your feeling could ease your mind too, so don’t be afraid to get in touch, no matter how small the problem may be. Dental emergencies should be something that you shouldn’t hesitate on calling immediately for. Whether it’s for you, a family member or friend, act quickly to help save the tooth from being damaged any further. And when it comes to typical symptoms, it’s worth noting when it’s best to get the help you need. Here’s a handy checklist to save:
- Swelling around the mouth, jaw or cheeks. This is an obvious sign that something’s wrong.
- A sudden impact where you are experiencing any sort of pain, even if your teeth are still in their sockets. It’s important to check for any pain, bleeding, or loose teeth.
- Any bleeding from the mouth should be a clear sign of some form of injury. And if you’ve lost any teeth, then call your dentist immediately.
Whether you’re in severe pain or mild discomfort, always contact your dentist for their advice. It’s important to get advice from the experts than to simply dismiss it and hope that the problem will go away by itself.