March 15, 2020
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know what to do during a dental emergency. The last thing you want when your tooth is broken, knocked out, or in pain is confusion. That’s why your dentist has written this handy guide on what you should do in various dental emergencies. As always, the first thing you should do is call your dentist, but here’s what to do until you can reach their office.
If You Knocked Out a Tooth
A knocked-out tooth is arguably the most urgent of all dental emergencies. You have about an hour to reach your dentist before the tooth becomes no longer viable for reattachment. Pick up the tooth by the crown (not the pointy root) and gently rinse it off with cold water, taking care not to remove any sections of tissue that may still be attached. Try placing the tooth back in the socket by gently biting down on a piece of cloth. If you can’t, then hold it in your cheek pocket or a container of milk until you can see your emergency dentist.
If Your Face Swells Up
This could mean you have an infection that needs immediate attention. Otherwise, the infection could spread to other parts of your body and cause complications. Stay upright, even while sleeping, and drink plenty of water.
If You Have a Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Tooth
If you’re in pain, take over-the-counter pain medications and apply a cold compress to the appropriate cheek in 10-minute intervals. Gather up the pieces of the tooth if there are any and bring them to your appointment. To protect the soft tissues in your mouth from injury, cover them with dental wax or sugar-free chewing gum.
If You Have a Toothache
First, floss around the affected tooth and rinse with saltwater. This may dislodge any food particles that could be trapped there and causing your pain. If that’s not the case, take store-bought painkillers and hold a cold compress to the area. A toothache could be due to any number of problems, like a cavity, infection, or gum disease, so it’s best to get your situation evaluated by a dentist pronto.
When it comes to dental emergencies, the most important thing to note is that putting off treatment generally only worsens your problem in the long term. Even though you might not feel like going to the dentist, it’s truly the best thing to do to preserve the health of your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Joey Hall is a 1990 graduate of the University of Texas Dental School at Houston. He has been practicing in Katy, TX for more than 20 years and earned a Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry in 2011. His practice offers same-day emergency appointments. If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, contact Katy Family Dentistry at (281) 398-3432.
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