Dental emergencies can be incredibly painful and disruptive to your day-to-day life. Knowing how to handle a dental disaster can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth and saving your smile. Here are some common dental emergencies and what to do before visiting your local dental office.
Toothaches are one of the most common dental emergencies. Various factors, including tooth decay, gum disease, or a cracked tooth, can cause them. If you experience a toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water and use dental floss to remove any food particles causing the pain. If the pain persists, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, ibuprofen. Do not place aspirin directly on the tooth or gums, which can cause further damage.
2. Lost Filling or Crown
If a filling or crown falls out, seeing your dental office as soon as possible is important. In the meantime, you can use dental cement or sugarless gum to fill the hole temporarily. Avoid adhesives such as superglue, which can damage your teeth and gums.
3. Chipped or Broken Tooth
A broken tooth can be caused by trauma, accident, or biting down on something too hard. In this case, rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling. If you can find the broken piece of tooth, place it in a container of milk or saliva and bring it with you to the dentist. Your dentist may reattach the broken piece or use a dental filling or crown to repair the tooth.
4. Knocked-Out Tooth
If you knock out a tooth, time is of the essence. Hold the tooth by the crown (the part that is normally visible in your mouth) and rinse it gently with water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue attached to it.
If possible, try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold it in place with a clean cloth or gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place it in a milk or saliva container and bring it to the dentist. The longer you wait to see the dentist, the less likely the tooth can be saved.
5. Abscessed Tooth
An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that occurs at the root of a tooth. It can cause fever, swelling, and a foul taste in your mouth. You should talk to your dentist immediately if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth. For now, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce pain and swelling.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
While it is impossible to prevent all dental emergencies, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. First, practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. This will prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to dental emergencies.
Aside from that, consult with your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. This approach will allow your dentist to catch any potential problems before they become dental emergencies.
Dental emergencies can be painful and disruptive, but knowing what to do during a dental disaster can save your smile. Always practice good oral hygiene, wear a mouthguard if necessary, and drop by your local dental office regularly to prevent dental emergencies from occurring. By taking these steps, you can have your smile safe and healthy for years.
Mass Dental Associates is a dental office in Massachusetts where you can find experienced and compassionate dentists. We are here to help you with any dental emergency you may face. Schedule an appointment with us today!