Emergency Care: Tips for handling emergencies before you see the dentist

Knocked Out Teeth

With proper treatment, most teeth that have been knocked out can be saved by your dentist. If you or a family member has a permanent tooth that gets knocked out, it is vital that you see the dentist as soon as possible.

Before you get there, however, you must preserve the tooth properly to ensure its viability. To do this, you must keep the tooth moist at all times. If possible, without touching the roots, try to gently insert the tooth back into the socket, facing the right way. If you are unable to do this, hold the tooth in your mouth between cheek and gums. (Use caution and judgment with children, who might swallow the tooth accidentally.) The tooth can also be kept moist in whole milk or in a dental preservation product. Apply cold compresses for pain and swelling.

Contact Pike Creek Dental immediately. Knocked out teeth are most likely to be saved if you see a dentist within an hour of the injury.

Broken Tooth

If you have broken off a piece or pieces of a tooth, rinse them and place in a small plastic bag to bring with you to the dentist. Rinse the mouth with warm water, and apply a piece of gauze or cotton for about 10 minutes to stop any bleeding. Apply cold compresses to the outside of the injured area to keep swelling down and relieve pain.

Contact Pike Creek Dental immediately.

Partially Dislodged (Loose) Tooth

Call us right away to be seen by the dentist. If the tooth is not broken and the nerve and blood vessels are still attached, we may be able to prevent loss of the tooth. Leave the tooth in your mouth. To relieve pain, apply cold compresses to the outside of the mouth in the affected area. You can also take Tylenol or Advil if needed. 

Cracked Tooth

Rinse the mouth with warm water. Apply cold compresses to the outside of your mouth near the cracked tooth to keep swelling down. Contact Pike Creek Dental immediately.

Lost Filling

It rarely happens, but if your filling does fall out, don’t panic. You will want to see the dentist as soon as possible to replace the filling. The loss of the filling, however, could make the exposed tooth tissue sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. You can temporarily replace the filling (until you can see the dentist) using an over-the-counter dental cement. You also can chew a piece of sugar-free gum until it is softened and then position the gum into the space left by the lost filling. Do not use gum with sugar in it, as this will cause pain.

Lost Crown

If a crown falls out, call the dentist to be seen as soon as possible. If you can’t get into the office immediately, there are temporary steps you can take. If the exposed tooth is sensitive or causing pain, apply a small amount of clove oil to the tooth. (Clove oil can be purchased at your drug store, or in the spice aisle at the grocery store.) If you have the crown, you might be able to put it back in place temporarily. First, clean the inside of the crown. Next, apply over-the-counter dental cement, dental adhesive or even toothpaste or petroleum jelly to the inside of the lost crown and position it back over the tooth. Never use household glues or “super” glues! These are not safe to put in your mouth. 

Dental Abscess

An abscess is an infection around the root of the tooth or in the space between the tooth and gum. It often presents itself as a pimple-like, possibly painful, swelling on the gum. An abscess is a serious condition that can damage the tooth and the surrounding gum, so it is important to be seen by the dentist as soon as possible. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other parts of the body and cause serious, even life-threatening, health problems.

To ease the pain and draw the pus to the surface, rinse your mouth several times a day with a mild saltwater solution. Contact Pike Creek Dental immediately.

Soft Tissue Injury (Injuries to lips, tongue, cheeks and gums)

An injury to the lips, tongue, cheek or gum can cause bruises or cuts. These cuts can bleed heavily because the mouth normally receives a rich supply of blood. You can clean cuts on the exterior of the lips with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. To clean cuts inside the mouth, rinse with a mild saltwater solution. Use cold compresses on the outside of the mouth for pain and swelling. If the cut is bleeding, apply pressure to it using a moistened piece of gauze or a tea bag for 15 to 20 minutes. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, call Pike Creek Dental immediately or go to an urgent care center or the hospital emergency center. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site until you can be seen and treated.

See a medical professional immediately if the lip is punctured or a cut is deep. If you experience signs of infection include redness, tenderness, swelling, pus or fever, call Pike Creek Dental or your physician.

Toothache

There are many potential causes of a toothache. Rinse your mouth with warm water and use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If you are experiencing swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. it is important to contact Pike Creek Dental as soon as possible so that we can evaluate you and treat the problem. Delay could make the problem worse.

In some cases, particularly with young children, tooth pain can be caused by impacted food. If you suspect this might be the cause, try to dislodge the food with a toothbrush, dental floss or a clean finger. If the pain persists, call Pike Creek Dental.