A dental emergency is any injury that requires immediate attention in order to save a tooth, or stop ongoing tissue bleeding or severe pain. The most important thing to do in these cases is contact your dentist right away or go to the nearest emergency room. However, there are several steps you can take to manage your dental emergency until you can see your dentist.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Are you unsure if your dental injury requires immediate medical attention? Here are several questions to ask yourself:
- Are you bleeding from the mouth?
- Are you in severe pain?
- Do you have any loose teeth?
- Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?
- Do you have any bulges, swelling or knots on your gums?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should contact your dentist immediately. Be sure to describe to your dentist exactly what has happened and what you are feeling.
What to do in Case of an Emergency
For a knocked out tooth, pick up the tooth by its crown (the top of the tooth) and avoid touching the root. Keep the tooth moist at all times by placing it in milk or in a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, such as Save-A-Tooth.
For a cracked tooth, clean the area by rinsing the mouth with warm water. Place a cold compress on the face to keep any swelling down.
For a loose tooth, try putting the tooth back in its original position by applying very light pressure with your finger. Try to bite down to keep the tooth from moving.
For tissue injuries caused by a puncture wound, tear or laceration, take acetaminophen as directed. Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen or other blood thinning medications.
For lip or tongue tears, clean the area gently with warm water and apply a cold compress.
For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water and gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth.
How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency
A dental emergency can happen at any time and place, so it is wise to be prepared by keeping a small dental first aid kit at home, in your car and when traveling. Be sure to pack the following:
- A small container with a lid (in case of a knocked out tooth)
- Name and phone number of your dentist
- Acetaminophen for pain
For more tips on how to deal with dental emergencies, contact Dr. Don Jayne today. Please call our Seattle office at (206) 623-4400.