A dental emergency unfortunately can happen anywhere and at anytime. Understanding what steps to take when one occurs however, can drastically improve the likelihood of repairing and saving a damaged tooth. Dorosti Dental & Associates Zanesville provides the following advice, intended for the temporary treatment of common dental emergency conditions. Please see your dentist as soon as possible or go to the nearest hospital in the event of an emergency.
“Knocked Out” (Avulsed) Tooth
- Handle tooth only by touching the upper crown portion and avoid touching the bottom root structure.
- If dirty, gently clean under light running water away from any drains. Never scrub or brush the tooth to avoid rubbing off any fragmented tissue material.
- Carefully attempt to reinsert the tooth back into the tooth gum socket.
- If reinsertion isn’t possible, place tooth in a clean container with cold milk, water, or an American Dental Association (ADA) accepted tooth preservation product for transport to your dentist.
- Time is critical for saving and reattaching the “knocked out” Contact and visit your dentist immediately.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
- Collect any broken pieces of tooth.
- Use warm water to rinse mouth thoroughly.
- Place a cold compress over affected area to reduce any facial swelling for around 10 minutes.
- Contact your dentist as soon as possible. If the broken portion is large enough, your dentist will likely be able to successfully bond it to the original tooth.
- For a minor chipped tooth, your dentist should be able to restore the tooth using a composite filling material.
Soft Tissue Mouth Injury
- Carefully rinse out mouth with warm water and gently clean affected area with an unused cloth.
- Apply sterile gauze to the wound area to help reduce bleeding.
- Hold cold compress over external affected area to reduce swelling for around 10 minutes.
- If bleeding is unable to be stopped, go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately to minimize blood loss and the potential risk of infection.
- Once injury is stabilized, contact your dentist for treatment options.
- Immobilize the jaw by wrapping a towel both under the chin and over the head.
- Apply a bag of ice to help reduce swelling.
- If a fractured or dislocated jaw is suspected, go to the nearest hospital immediately.
- Once injuries have stabilized, visit your dentist for an intraoral examination as soon as possible.
A dental abscess, where infected teeth, gums (periodontitis), or dead nerves (necrosis) can painfully swell with bacterial pus is considered an emergency if left untreated. Bacterial infection can quickly spread throughout the jaw, head, neck, and even into major bodily organs.
Visit your dentist immediately if you have a persistently aching tooth or any facial swelling.
- Rinse out mouth thoroughly with warm water.
- Carefully floss as needed to remove any potentially pain causing debris.
- If able to, take an over-the-counter pain relieving medication like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen following dosage instructions and warnings as directed.
- Avoid placing heat or any pain relieving medication directly on the affected tooth.
- If severe pain persists, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Prevention and Preparation
- Remember to visit your dentist regularly for examinations and scheduled cleanings.
- Use proper mouthguards when playing contact sports.
- Bicyclers, motorcyclists, and skaters should wear helmets which have Snell Certification or are approved by ANSI (American National Standards Institute).
- Wear a seat belt at all times when traveling in any vehicle.
- Exercise common sense and be sure to keep your dentist’s phone number (or emergency number) nearby in case of an emergency.
Questions? Call Dorosti Dental & Associates at 740/452-3697.