Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 3-08-2020
Dental emergencies can happen in an instant or slowly progress from a mild issue to an emergency overtime. However, one thing most dental emergencies have in common is pain or discomfort. When you experience pain without a logical explanation, such as a newly damaged tooth or through an accident, you should always call our office as soon as possible. However, if you have a clear emergency following an accident or injury, not only should you call our office, but you should also take some steps to help reduce pain and avoid further damage. Here, we look at 9 possible dental emergencies and what to do when they happen.
1. Swollen face
If you are suffering from an infection in your mouth, whether it is in your tooth, gums, or jawbone, you could experience swelling in your face. If you find that your face appears swollen, set up a dental appointment with us immediately and let us know your symptoms, so we know it is urgent. While waiting for your appointment, be sure to avoid lying down, even when you go to bed. Stay upright and drink fluids to help reduce the risk of complications.
2. Knocked out tooth
While this is an obvious emergency, it might be less clear what to do when it happens. First, try to find your tooth. If you can reimplant your tooth, there is a better chance we can save it. Pick your tooth up and avoid touching the root. Keep your fingers on the tooth itself, so you don’t cause further damage to the tissue needed to reimplant it. Rinse off any dirt under gently running water without touching the root. To avoid dropping your tooth down the sink, place a towel over the drain. Look at the same tooth on the opposite side in the mirror to make sure you position it correctly. If you aren’t sure how to replace it, place your tooth in a container of cold milk and head to our office with a quick warning call you are on your way.
3. A broken, cracked, or chipped tooth
If you damage your tooth, give us a call to set up an emergency visit. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should still see us as soon as possible. You can expect to experience some tooth sensitivity, so avoid cold and hot drinks. At your appointment, we will assess your tooth and determine what repairs can be done. This can be as simple as polishing to smooth a crack; however, in more serious cases, you might require a crown or root canal.
4. Bleeding mouth
If you are hit in the mouth, the reason for the bleeding is obvious. If you have experienced an injury to your mouth, call our office and let us know you were in an accident, and we will set up an appointment ASAP. For other causes of bleeding, do the following:
If you’re bleeding 24 hours after an extraction or treatment at our office, this is an indication you could need immediate care, especially if the bleeding is extreme. Keep your head elevated, even when sleeping. If we did not perform the procedure or our office is not open, you should visit a dental emergency clinic immediately.
If you experience bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss, chances are you have an underlying condition, such as gum disease or gingivitis. Be certain to set up an appointment within a month.
Blood in your saliva could be very serious, including the possibility of advanced gum disease or even some types of cancer. You should set up an appointment as soon as you can.
5. Gum or Tooth abscess
If you spot a sore on your gum, it could mean you have a Gingival abscess, which is in the gum tissue. A gum abscess can be caused by a sharp piece of food getting lodged into gums and becoming infected.
A tooth abscess, also known as a Periodontal abscess, occurs between the teeth and gums and can be caused by injury or food getting stuck.
You should be seen right away, as the abscess will need to be drained. The longer you wait, the worse the pain and infection can become. You can experience facial swelling and extreme pain, and put yourself at risk for systemic complications if the infection gets into your bloodstream. Avoid chewing in that area until we can take care of you
Depending on the location and severity of the infection we may need to take an X-ray and, potentially, prescribe antibiotics. In some cases, you may require a root canal or an extraction. While waiting for your appointment, do not try to “pop” the abscess. Continue with your usual brushing and flossing regime.
6. Injuries, falls, or accidents
Accidents can lead to mild or even severe injuries of the teeth, jaw, and soft tissues of the mouth, tongue, and inner cheeks. If you have trauma to your face or mouth, check your teeth and mouth for signs of damage. Bleeding, broken or damaged teeth, and pain or difficulty moving your jaw are all good reasons to visit our office. If you have pain in the jaw or ear, ice the area and take an anti-inflammatory, such as Advil.
7. Cut or burned tongue
If you cut or burn your tongue, the pain and bleeding can be quite severe. Call our office to set up an appointment and suck an ice cube to help manage pain, especially for burns. If the bleeding is bad, you can use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to help it subside.
There are so many different reasons for tooth pain that it is always best to call us for an appointment. Not all situations will be an emergency, and they can range from grinding your teeth at night to actual cavities or gum disease. You can use over-the-counter pain medication to manage pain until you see our team.
9. Something caught between your teeth
While this might seem more like an annoyance than an emergency, leaving something stuck in your teeth can lead to a foreign body reaction. If you can’t remove it with floss, the intruder will eventually be viewed as a threat by your body, which will lead to swelling and pain. If floss doesn’t help, call our office, and we can arrange to remove it for you.
If you think you could have a dental emergency, speak to our team at Milltown Dental today.