Sometimes, life gives you lemons… or accidents that lead to injuries. If you were to fall—*knock wood*—and break a bone—knock even more wood—then you know that the best thing to do is to head to the nearest Emergency Room. The attending physician and patch you up and send you on your way. Crisis averted.
But, what should you do in the event of a dental emergency? Unless the attending physician also happens to be a dentist or dental surgeon, would they even be able to help you?
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common dental injuries and what to do in the event of a dental emergency.
Knocking Out a Tooth
When people wish you good luck, they tell you to break a leg, not knock out one of your teeth. But, if you wanted the extra luck afforded by a knocked-out tooth then don’t panic, it isn’t the end of the world… or your perfect 32-teeth smile.
If you’ve knocked out a tooth, the first thing you’ll want to do is to see if you still have it—i.e., if you haven’t accidentally swallowed it or kicked it across the stage. If you can retrieve your tooth, the safest action is to clean it and put it back in until you get to the dentist.
This comes with a few warnings though. Do not touch the root of your tooth if it is retrievable. Clean it by rinsing the tooth with water and leaving any tissue fragments that are still attached intact. Try to see if you can put it back in the socket, facing the correct way, but don’t force it. If you’re successful, you can bite down and hold the tooth on spot.
If the tooth can’t be placed back in the socket, you can place it in a Ziploc bag or container of milk (or a cup of water with a pinch of salt). This will preserve the tooth and increase the chances of reattachment. The highest chance of saving a lost tooth is to get to an emergency dental clinic within an hour of knocking it out.
Once you arrive at the emergency clinic, the attending dentist will assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of action. Dentists are highly unlikely to attempt to reattach baby teeth—or primary teeth—and much more likely to attempt to reattach a permanent tooth.
Partially Dislodged Tooth
An extruded tooth can be incredibly painful. Furthermore, a partially dislodged tooth presents a risk to your oral health as it increases your risk of infection. You will likely need to seek immediate attention to avoid complications. The longer you wait to treat an extruded tooth, the fewer options you’ll have to restore your smile.
To relieve the pain and reduce swelling, apply ice or a cold compress to the affected area. In extreme circumstances, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
As is the case with a knocked-out tooth, you’ll want to find the nearest emergency dental clinic.
Cracked, Broken, or Chipped Tooth
Cracked, broken, or chipped teeth are among the most common dental emergencies. Sometimes all it takes is a particularly crunchy crouton!
If the crack or chip reaches down to your tooth’s roots then the pain from this type of dental trauma can be truly overwhelming. But don’t let the pain take away your smile! Modern medicine can work some miracles and there are more than a few dental treatments to remedy cracked and chipped teeth. Once you arrive at your dentist’s office, they can recommend dental bonding or dental crowns to fix your smile. Even in more severe cases, your dentist can perform a root canal or extract the tooth and replace it with an implant or dental bridge.
Not all cracks require treatment, however. If your dentist finds that you only have a hairline fracture in your enamel, they will likely not recommend any treatment but ask that you monitor the tooth for any increase in sensitivity.
Lost Crown or Filling
Crowns and fillings are necessary for our teeth to perform their best. Because of their function, losing a crown or filling can be incredibly uncomfortable and can lead to inefficiencies when speaking or eating.
Luckily, these types of injuries do not usually result in ER visits. As well, if your crown is still intact, you may be able to reattach it yourself using over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive until you can visit your dentist for repair.
Broken Braces or Wires
Braces and wires are some of the strongest dental tools available. However, when it comes to injuries, metal in your mouth is the last thing you would want. We recommend if you have experienced an injury involving any sort of orthodontic equipment see a dentist immediately.
If a wire is out of position and puncturing your gums, lips, or tongue, you can use a pencil eraser to push it into a more favourable spot. If you cannot reposition it on your own, your best bet is to pad the area with a cotton ball or gauze until you can see your dentist.
A tooth abscess is an infection at the root of your tooth. This can arise from an old dental injury or poor dental care and oral health. Either way, tooth abscesses are known for their consistent pain and they can affect your speech and ability to chew food.
If you believe your tooth is abscessed, call your dentist’s office and schedule an appointment at the next available time. In the meantime, you can rinse your mouth several times a day with warm salt water.
Got a Dental Issue You Need to Take Care of?
If you have oral pain or a dental injury you need taken care of, don’t wait! Our highly trained specialists at Cedarwood Dental are here to get you back to optimal health.
Give us a call and we will inform you of the next steps and ensure that you are getting the proper treatment for your injury. Crisis averted!