Accidents happen. Toothaches, broken teeth, and sports-related injuries can happen at any time, often when you least expect it. More than just an inconvenience, these and other dental emergencies can be painful and stressful.
For all dental emergencies, it’s important to contact us right away and come in as soon as possible. If you or a family member experiences an emergency outside of normal office hours, contact Dr. Kauftheil at Steven@toothdocsdental.com. He will get back to you right away and advise you on immediate next steps.
Tooth Docs Dental is open on Saturdays, making it even more convenient for us to help you take care of your dental emergency. Our goal is to help alleviate your pain as quickly as possible, see you as soon as possible and fix your smile. If you chip or lose a tooth, you should seek care as soon as possible for the appropriate restoration procedure.
We provide quality care at any time of the day or night to treat a myriad of emergencies including:
Don’t take any risks when it comes to your current and future dental health. If you are unable to reach the on-call staff at our office, make sure that you contact 911 immediately to receive the treatment you need.
Is it a Dental Emergency?
It’s important to know what’s an emergency and what is not. You don’t want to be an alarmist, but you also want to be sure that you are taking proper care. If it’s not causing pain, it’s probably not an emergency. If you are not sure if you are having a true dental emergency, answer the following questions:
- Are you bleeding from the mouth?
- Are you in severe pain?
- Do you have any loose or missing teeth?
- Have you been hit in the face or mouth?
- Do you have swelling in the mouth or face?
- Do you have any bulges, swelling or knots on your gums?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, call your dentist immediately. It’s important to be able to describe to him/her exactly what has happened and what you are feeling.
If you experience pain when biting down, it might be an abscess. This is an emergency and you should call your dentist right away.
If you experience extreme pain caused by hot or warm foods/beverages, try sipping on ice water and hold some in your mouth to help relieve the pain.
If you have sensitivity to cold or if it causes pain when you breath in air through the mouth, avoid cold foods and drinks and try to breathe through your nose.
In Case of a Dental Emergency…
Because a dental emergency can happen anytime and anywhere, the best thing to do is to be prepared and don’t panic. Pack a small dental first aid kit with the following:
- Small container with a lid (for knocked out teeth)
- Name and phone number of your dentist
- Acetaminophen (not aspirin or ibuprofen – they can act as a blood thinner and cause excessive bleeding)
It’s also a good idea to always have floss on hand in case something gets caught in your teeth. The Save-a-Tooth emergency tooth preservation kit is also a smart addition to your first aid kit in case you lose a tooth unexpectedly.
How to Avoid a Dental Emergency
Most emergencies can be avoided by taking good care of your teeth. Proactive care, such as routine check-ups, cleanings and good, ol’-fashioned good oral hygiene ensure that your mouth and teeth are healthy and strong.
Regular check-ups will make certain that you don’t have any loose crowns or teeth, or decay close to the nerve of the tooth that could cause pain or develop into a bigger problem later. This is especially important before an extended trip where you might not have access to dental care. You can also use the American Dental Association’s Find a Dentist tool to locate an ADA member dentist near you when traveling.
For adults and kids, wearing a mouth guard during sports can help prevent teeth from being chipped, knocked out and broken. Avoid chewing on ice and hard foods that might break or fracture teeth.
Common Dental Emergencies & What to Do:
A knocked-out tooth requires immediate attention. If the following steps are taken immediately, the chances are very good that the tooth can be “saved.”
- For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times.
- If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. Hold it in place while trying to bite down.
- If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Get to your dentist’s office right away. The longer you wait to implant the tooth back in its socket, the less chance you have of the tooth “taking” and remaining.
Knocked-Out Baby Tooth
If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether to implant it again.
If it is an adult tooth, follow the steps listed in the previous question.
Chipped, Cracked of Fractured Tooth
If the tooth is chipped, but doesn’t hurt, it usually doesn’t constitute a dental emergency. It is important to be careful while chewing so you don’t do further damage. Call us and schedule an appointment as soon as possible – we may be able to smooth it out or add some composite filling material to repair the tooth.
A cracked or fractured tooth is a serious issue. Usually, fractured or cracked teeth mean that there’s damage to the outside and the inside of the tooth. Call us immediately and take the following steps:
- Rinse the mouth out with warm water immediately to clean the area.
- Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
- If you are in pain, take acetaminophen (not aspirin). Be sure to follow the directions on the package.
- DO NOT apply painkiller to the gum because it can damage the gum tissue further.
- See your dentist as soon as possible. We will take an X-ray to properly diagnose the condition of your tooth and gum and determine the best procedure for you.
Severely Bitten Tongue or Lip
If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room if there is excessive bleeding, the bleeding won’t stop or you are in a lot of pain.
For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.