There are few things that can cause more anxiety than a sudden and severe dental emergency. Dental emergencies can occur in many ways and come in many forms. Some are more urgent than others, but all should be handled soon to get the best outcome. Understanding how to handle different dental emergencies ahead of time can help ensure the best results and the fewest complications.
How to Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth
A tooth can be knocked out during a fall or by force during sporting activities. A tooth that has been knocked loose or knocked out completely requires urgent dental care. Your chances of saving a natural tooth that has been knocked out are best in the first 30 to 60 minutes after the incident.
If you can locate the tooth, hold it by the crown only. Rinse in water without soap or other chemicals. Do not wash away any tissue attached to the root. If possible, keep the tooth in the socket it came from. If you cannot do this, then keep it in a container with your saliva or some milk until you get to the dentist.
Dealing with a Chipped, Cracked or Broken Tooth
Teeth can chip or crack when you bite into a hard piece of food or ice. Usually, when a tooth develops a small chip, this can be easily fixed with a tooth filling. Larger breaks may need to be restored with dental crowns. In most cases, your tooth can be repaired to look the way it did before the incident.
If a tooth cracks, immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Apply cold compresses to your face to reduce swelling. See your dentist as soon as possible to have your tooth repaired.
Soothing Tooth or Gum Abscess
An abscess can develop either after untreated trauma or as a result of tooth decay that has penetrated into the pulp of your teeth. Symptoms include a throbbing toothache, headache, foul breath, fever, and swelling in your gums, jaw, or face.
The bacterial infection that causes an abscess will not go away on its own. If left untreated, it can spread to other areas of your head and neck and cause serious complications. It is vital to call your dentist immediately when you have an abscess. They will schedule an appointment and will arrange for medication to clear up the infection and treatment to ensure that it does not happen again.
What to Do About a Persistent Toothache
Not every toothache is a dental emergency; however, aching teeth can be an indication that something is wrong. When you have a toothache, gently rinse your mouth with water to clean it. Use dental floss to remove food that may be caught between teeth. If pain persists after taking over-the-counter medication, contact your dentist. Do not apply aspirin directly to teeth or gums, as this can burn the tissue.
When to Call Your Dentist for a Dental Emergency
It’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to a dental emergency. Some situations need an immediate response; others can be handled within a few days without long-term damage. Your dentist can answer questions and decide whether an immediate visit is necessary to protect your smile and your dental health.
At Rivertown Dental, we’re here to help! Give us a call at one of our 3 locations, to help with any dental emergency you are experiencing – La Crosse, WI (608) 788-0030; Holmen, WI (608) 526-9300; Arcadia, WI (608) 323-3888.