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Top 7 Tips to Follow During a Dental Emergency

Posted in Dental Emergency

6 minute read

 A woman wearing a yellow sweatshirt holds her jaw due to dental pain.

Dental emergencies can happen unexpectedly, causing pain, discomfort, and anxiety. Whether it’s a severe toothache, a broken tooth, or a knocked-out tooth, knowing how to handle a dental emergency can make all the difference in preserving your oral health and reducing complications. In this guide, we’ll discuss what constitutes a dental emergency, common types of dental emergencies, five steps, and seven essential tips to follow during a dental emergency.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation that requires immediate attention from a dentist to alleviate pain, prevent further damage, or save a tooth. Common dental emergencies include:

Severe Toothache

Persistent or severe tooth pain can indicate an underlying dental issue, such as an infection, abscess, or tooth fracture.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

A broken or chipped tooth can result from trauma, biting down on hard objects, or underlying dental decay.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth, also known as an avulsed tooth, requires prompt action to increase the chances of successful re-implantation.

Loose Tooth

A loose or partially dislodged tooth may occur due to trauma or injury, and immediate dental attention is necessary to stabilize the tooth and prevent further damage.

Object Lodged Between Teeth

If an object becomes lodged between teeth and causes pain or discomfort, it may require professional removal to prevent injury to the gums or surrounding teeth.

Top 5 Steps That Make Dealing With a Dental Emergency Easier

Dental emergencies always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times. Before we delve into the seven tips to follow during a dental emergency, these five steps can make the experience less stressful:

  1. Stay calm: In any dental emergency, it’s essential to remain calm and composed. Panicking can escalate the situation and make it harder to assess and address the problem effectively.
  2. Assess the situation: Evaluate the severity of the dental emergency and determine if immediate professional care is necessary. Some issues may require immediate attention, while others can wait until regular dental office hours.
  3. Contact your dentist: If you experience a dental emergency during regular office hours, contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an emergency appointment. Many dentists also have emergency protocols in place after hours. Provide details about your symptoms and follow any available instructions.
  4. Manage pain: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate dental pain and discomfort until you can see a dentist. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and avoid placing aspirin directly on the gums or tooth, as it can cause irritation or burns. Take over-the-counter pain relievers as directed.
  5. Floss gently: remove any possible debris by flossing the area of concern.

Follow These 7 Tips According to Your Dental Emergency

Quick action can be imperative to save one or more teeth and prevent relatively minor issues from becoming complex problems.

  1. Severe dental emergencies: Seek immediate dental care for severe emergencies, such as a knocked-out tooth, serious bleeding, or unbearable pain. In extreme situations, consider going to the emergency room for immediate medical attention.
  2. Handling a knocked-out tooth: Hold an avulsed tooth by the crown (top part) and avoid touching the roots. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently with water, but do not scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, place the tooth back into its socket or store it in a container of milk or saliva to keep it moist until you get to the dentist. An avulsed tooth can be saved if care is obtained within half an hour,
  3. Protecting a broken tooth: If you have a fractured or chipped tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Avoid chewing on the affected side and cover any sharp edges or exposed nerves with dental wax or temporary filling material to prevent injury to the tongue or cheeks. If a tooth is broken or chipped, save any broken pieces and rinse your mouth with warm water.
  4. Broken or dislodged restorations: Save the restoration or any recoverable pieces and schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist.
  5. Dental abscess: Pain, swelling, or bumps around a tooth can indicate a dental abscess. Seek prompt attention if you are experiencing these symptoms, as you may require antibiotics. Do not press on the area.
  6. Control bleeding: If you experience bleeding from the mouth due to trauma or injury, apply gentle pressure to the affected area with a clean gauze or cloth. Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze, and avoid aspirin or other blood-thinning medications, as they can prolong bleeding.
  7. Orthodontic emergencies: If you have an emergency with braces, call your orthodontist. You can try gently repositioning loose wires with tweezers or applying orthodontic wax.

Follow Up With Your Dentist

After receiving emergency treatment for a dental issue, schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist for further evaluation. A personalized treatment plan can help restore oral health and prevent unnecessary dental emergencies. Once the health of your smile is restored, cosmetic dental care can address its appearance.

Some solutions to correct cosmetic issues related to dental emergencies may include:

Dental Emergencies and Children

When a child experiences a chipped, broken, or knocked-out tooth, checking for loose pieces that can cause them to choke is essential. Help the child rinse out their mouth and inspect all areas to ensure it’s clear of any hazards.

If your child participates in sports, a custom-made mouth guard can help protect their teeth and avoid serious dental emergencies.

Keep Emergency Dental Supplies Handy

Consider keeping a dental emergency kit at home and in your car. A good emergency dental kit will include the following:

  • Gauze pads
  • A small container with a lid
  • Over-the-counter pain medication and numbing gel
  • Dental wax
  • Contact information for your dentist and local emergency dental clinic

Dental emergencies can be stressful, but knowing how to respond can significantly affect the outcome. By following these tips and seeking prompt, professional care when needed, you can protect your oral health and minimize the risk of complications. Remember to maintain regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene habits to prevent future emergencies and keep your smile healthy and vibrant.

Dental Emergencies in Beverly Hills, CA

Dr. Sands is a well-known dentist in Beverly Hills who treats dental emergencies, provides outstanding cosmetic dentistry treatments, and offers sedation dentistry to restore damaged smiles comfortably. Call 310.273.0111 to schedule your emergency or cosmetic dental appointment.