WHAT IS A DENTAL EMERGENCY?
How soon should I see a dentist?
Immediately. Getting to a dentist within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving or losing a tooth. Most of the time, the emergency dentist can at least relieve the pain you are in while you are there. This may be with pain medication, or providing suggestions such as cold and hot compresses on the mouth until you are able to get the dental procedure required.
It is important to have treatment from your dental professional for diagnosis and treatment of the problem that caused the emergency. Many people think time will resolve the problem. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. Oral injuries are especially painful and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
What should I do if a tooth has been knocked out?
Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root. Touching the root (the part of the tooth below the gum) can damage cells necessary for bone reattachment. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not scrub. If possible, gently place the clean tooth in the socket to keep it moist. It is important not to let the tooth dry out. If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk or saliva.
What should I do when a tooth is pushed out of position?
Attempt to reposition the tooth to its normal alignment using very light finger pressure, but do not force the tooth. Bite down to keep the tooth from moving.
What should I do when a tooth is fractured?
Rinse mouth with warm water. Use an ice pack or cold compress to reduce swelling. Use ibuprofen, not aspirin, for pain. Immediately get to your dentist, who will determine treatment based on how badly the tooth is broken. Only a dentist can tell how bad the break is.
Minor fractures can be smoothed by your dentist or simply left alone. Another option is to restore the tooth with a composite restoration. In either case, treat the tooth with care for several days.
Moderate fractures include damage to the enamel, dentin and/or pulp (nerve and other live tissues). If the pulp is not permanently damaged, the tooth may be restored with a full permanent crown. If damage to the pulp does occur, further dental treatment will be required.
Severe fractures often mean a traumatized tooth with slim chance of recovery.