Healthy Smiles Premier Dental
ith a diligent oral hygiene program–brushing twice a day and flossing once, having a professional cleaning and a full dental exam twice a year–most problems with your gums and teeth can be prevented or caught early in their development.
But there are dental emergencies and it is important to be prepared when they occur and to know the different ways they should be handled.
There are what we class as urgent emergencies, such as an accident that results in bleeding or a knocked-out tooth, teeth that have been badly chipped or cracked, a toothache that is very painful, or an infected root that needs to be cleaned out.
For a lost tooth, if you can retrieve it, hold it by the top (not the root), wash it in warm water, and put it in milk until you can have an urgent care clinic see if it can be put back in. You can keep down the swelling by putting a cold compress on the outside of your face nearest where the tooth was, then taking it off every 15 minutes for a couple of hours. Call Healthy Smiles Premier Dental during office hours and schedule an appointment as soon as available for your dentist to decide whether the tooth can heal or whether it needs to be replaced with a dental implant.
Damaged Tooth or Toothaches
A serious toothache may be due to a cavity, a damaged filling, infected gums, unconscious grinding down of teeth while you sleep (known as bruxism), or a dead root. Other symptoms may be a fever, throbbing that spreads to the ears and neck, sensitivity when you eat or drink anything hot or cold, or swelling of the face, and difficulty chewing, swallowing, or breathing. The cause needs to be diagnosed immediately, so if this is during our office hours, come in ASAP. Otherwise, go to an emergency room. Some of these, like a cavity, can be easily treated, others, such as an infected root, may require a specialist such as an endodontist or oral surgeon.
If chipping or cracking are severe, rinse the area with warm salt water, use cold compresses, and you can put Dentemp from a drug store on the area before having it examined by a doctor immediately. Then come into Healthy Smiles so we can determine the best remedy, such as a full dental crown to hold together the tooth or a veneer to cover the chipped area.
There are also dental problems that are not as urgent, but need to be addressed as soon as possible in our office:
- Mild chipping or a hairline crack that are not yet causing significant pain.
- A minor cavity that is uncomfortable and needs to be removed and the area filled before it gets worse (a traditional remedy is to apply clove oil).
- A crown that comes off (put it back on with some dental adhesive and your dentist will determine if you need a new one).
- Food or some other object stuck between teeth.
- Teeth that are pushed out of alignment (don’t try to correct this yourself).
- Old dental work that is making chewing uncomfortable and needs to be redone.
If you have not had a full dental exam and cleaning recently, make these a priority to avoid having a dental emergency.