3 Tips for Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are exceptionally common in the United States, with over five million Americans suffering from knocked-out teeth each year. Dental fractures, chips, and oral lacerations are even more commonplace, causing pain, bleeding, and swelling, and leaving the teeth and mouth open to serious infections. Here are three tips for dealing with dental emergencies, so that you can improve your chances of a successful restoration.

1. Stock Up On Emergency Dental Supplies

When emergencies happen, you might find yourself trying to evaluate the damage and repair the area temporarily. Unfortunately, without the right supplies, you might not be able to preserve that knocked-out tooth or stop the zinging pain from that exposed cavity. Although emergency dental instrument sets are available online for curious customers and doomsday-preppers alike, they won’t be much help unless you moonlight as a professional dentist. Instead, focus on stocking up on emergency dental supplies made for people who aren’t familiar with dentistry, such as:

  • A Dental Mirror

    The mouth is filled with tight space and difficult-to-see dental surfaces, which is why dental mirrors are so useful. Having one handy during a dental emergency can help you to evaluate the extent of any damage so that you know what steps to take next.

  • Tooth Preservation Kits

    When teeth get knocked out, it can be difficult to keep them alive until you reach the dentist’s office. Handling delicate tooth roots or dropping the tooth onto a dirty surface could affect its ability to reattach and lead to dangerous infections. To protect your rogue tooth, consider investing in a tooth preservation kit. These kits contain a small container filled with a balanced salt solution designed to keep blood from clotting within the tooth and to keep the tooth clean until it can be put back into place.

  • Temporary Filling Material

    When fillings fall out, the tooth can become incredibly sensitive, vulnerable to decay, and structurally unstable. To protect and seal the tooth, it is a good idea to keep some temporary filling material on hand. Available for under $10 at most drugstores, temporary fillings can be applied in a few minutes and will stay intact until your dentist can repair the area properly.

  • Numbing Ointment

    Chipped teeth can affect more than looks. Since the interior of the tooth contains nerves, dental fractures and chips can leave your tooth incredibly sensitive. Keep some numbing ointment, such as over-the-counter products like Anbesol, on hand to apply to sensitive areas.

  • Dental Wax

    If you don’t like the idea of applying medications to your teeth, consider using dental wax to cover fractures and chips instead. Dental wax can create a temporary but effective seal that alleviates sensitivity and protects the interior of the tooth.

2. Know Your Dentist’s Emergency Numbers

If your dental emergency left you searching the floor for a missing tooth, bleeding, or trying to numb pain, you might find it difficult to look for your dentist’s emergency phone number, which can delay your treatment.

To streamline your dental emergency treatment, do your research beforehand to find out how your dentist wants you to approach dental emergencies. Ask about emergency phone numbers and protocols, and don’t be afraid to switch to a dentist who offers his or her number after hours. Some dentists, such as this dental office in Boston, take dental emergencies very seriously and will make every effort to help you as soon as possible.

3. Understand Dental First Aid

A basic understanding of dental first aid is incredibly helpful during dental emergencies. If you know how to respond to different dental problems, you might be able to preserve blood flow around the affected area, keep the tooth or socket clean, and prevent infections. Here are basic first aid tips for different dental emergencies.

  • Chipped Teeth or Dental Fractures

    Save any pieces of chipped teeth, rinse them and your mouth out with warm salt water, and bring the chip with you to the dentist’s office. If your tooth is bleeding, stop the bleeding by applying clean gauze to the area.

  • Knocked-Out Tooth

    After you find your knocked out tooth, hold it by the crown (the white part of the tooth) and rinse it off with clean water. If you have one, deposit the tooth in a tooth preservation kit. If you don’t have one of these kits available, keep the tooth in a small container of milk or hold it in your mouth between your cheek and your jaw, so that it stays within its natural environment. Seek emergency dental treatment right away, as teeth are much more likely to be saved if they are treated within the hour.

  • Oral Lacerations

    For oral tissue cuts, use clean gauze and pressure to stop the bleeding. Oral lacerations in the gum or palate area may need to be treated by a dentist, while cuts in the cheeks or lips can be addressed by a general practitioner or plastic surgeon. Seek emergency medical treatment to stop the bleeding and to prevent infection.

By knowing how to prepare for dental emergencies, you’ll be better able to respond quickly and effectively for dental problems—and stay calm during the process. Contact your dentist in Boston Massachusetts for more information.

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  • Hi Doctor

    Thank you for the post, these are very useful tips in case of a dental emergency. To add on to your tips, here are a few signs and symptoms that can help you figure out whether you need to pay an emergency visit to the dentist :

    • Losing a tooth

    If you are above ten years of age and have just lost a tooth, it definitely comes under the category of a dental emergency. If you do not act immediately, you may end up losing the tooth forever. There are several incidents where dentists have been able to implant the tooth successfully. Then again, it is crucial that you work fast. All you have to do is clean the tooth with water and carefully place it back in the socket and hold it in place till you get to the emergency dentist. If you are unable to keep it in place, it is best to save the tooth in a jar of milk and take it with you when you visit the dentist. You should make sure that you visit a dentist within the hour of the incident.

    • Abscess

    When an inflamed gum tissue is formed around a tooth, it is known as an abscess. In some cases, it may not be painful, but form lumps, often filled with fluid. It is considered as a dental emergency and needs to be attended to immediately, even if it causes little or no discomfort. Not having it treated immediately can lead to decay or other damages.

    • Tooth ache

    A severe tooth pain is a good enough reason to rush to a dental clinic. This is often caused due to a serious dental issue and needs to be addressed immediately, especially if it is accompanied by inflammation or if you find regular activities like chewing difficult or impossible.

    • Objects caught between the teeth

    Avoid using pins or other sharp objects to remove food particles that are stuck in between your teeth. Usage of these instruments can cut your gums or scratch your teeth. The best option is to try and floss it off, and if that is not possible, make sure that you visit a dentist. 

    Everyone might experience a dental emergency atleast ones in their lives. No one can predict when it may happen, so be prepared next time it happens to you.

  • Hey doctor, you have introduced such a wonderful ideas on dental emergencies. Really effective and intriguing. When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit your dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible. A dental emergency can lead to serious complications.    Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients. Call your dentist and provide as much detail as possible about your condition. If you're concerned about visiting the dentist because you have limited or no dental insurance, ask your dentist if the practice offers a convenient outside monthly payment plan. If the answer is yes, you can submit an application online and get an immediate credit decision–and the emergency care you need. Thanks for brilliant tips.

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