Many of us know how to administer CPR or execute the ‘stop, drop, and roll’ technique. But, it’s likely that we may never have to use these valuable maneuvers in real life. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency is no different–it may never happen, but if it does, you need to be prepared. Our Dallas family dentistry center is here to tell you everything you need to know about dental emergencies before disaster strikes.
Are you currently dealing with a dental crisis? Contact our emergency dentists in Dallas, TX, immediately at (214) 827-1885. Not sure if you have a dental emergency on your hands? Send the team at Lakewood Dental Group a message here to find out.
Before you get emergency care with our trusted team, you need to know what to do while a dental emergency is happening. In this post, we outline common emergencies and how to handle them before you can get to a dentist.
Trauma to the Lips, Tongue, or Cheeks
It is fairly common to bite our lips, tongues, and cheeks while we eat or speak. But, generally, this amount of trauma does not constitute an emergency. However, some external trauma (like a car or sports accident) can cause significant damage to these delicate tissues, resulting in considerable pain and bleeding.
If the pain and bleeding are minimal, then gently wash the mouth with a warm saltwater solution before lightly applying clean gauze to the injury. The saltwater serves to disinfect the wound while the gauze helps stop persistent bleeding.
However, if the bleeding and pain are extreme, then it is best to head to your nearest urgent care center (like a 24-hour walk-in clinic or hospital emergency room). They can stop the bleeding, close the wound, and prescribe antibiotics, if necessary.
A Suddenly Loose Tooth
A newly-wiggly tooth isn’t exactly good news. But, it does not necessarily mean that your tooth is a goner. Indeed, we may be able to help you correct the root cause of the issue before tooth loss becomes a real threat.
The root cause of a suddenly loose tooth may include:
- External trauma
- Sleep bruxism (unknowingly clenching and grinding the teeth while sleeping)
- Gum disease
Regardless of the root cause, leave the tooth alone! Messing with a wiggly tooth can dislodge it from the socket and make saving the tooth more challenging.
Furthermore, poking around a vulnerable tooth with unwashed hands may prove dangerous. The germs on our fingers may end up deep below the gum line, which can cause a painful root canal infection.
If you have touched the tooth with unwashed fingers, then very gently rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution. This can keep bad bacteria at bay.
An Avulsed (Knocked-Out) Tooth Dental Emergency
Losing a permanent tooth is a scary dental emergency. But, if you act quickly, then you may be able to save it.
If the avulsed tooth is still in the mouth, then leave it there. If you can place it back into its socket, then try doing that (with freshly-washed hands, of course!).
If the knocked-out tooth is not still in the mouth, then carefully pick it up by the chewing surface. Try not to touch the bottom (also called the root) of the tooth. The roots of our teeth are very delicate, and they must be protected to ensure proper reattachment.
If the tooth is dirty, then gently rinse the tooth in clean water. Once it is free and clear of debris, try placing it back in its socket.
What do I do if it’s too painful to put a knocked-out back in its socket?
Even if you cannot put the tooth back into its socket, it is best to keep it in the mouth where it naturally belongs. So, keep it tucked safely in the side of your cheek as you are on your way to an emergency dentist.
If you are worried that you might accidentally swallow the tooth, then it is acceptable to keep the tooth in a glass of water or milk. Keeping the tooth moist is crucial.
Here’s a tip: putting the avulsed tooth in a small glass of milk may be better than a glass of water. Milk has components (like sugar and calcium) that can help keep the tooth healthy and alive while you are on your way to get help. As a result, a tooth saved in milk may be easier to reattach than a tooth saved in water.
A Broken, Cracked, or Chipped Tooth
A broken, cracked, or chipped tooth is no less of a dental emergency than an avulsed tooth. So, much of the protocol remains the same: don’t panic and contact a professional immediately.
However, there are a few things that you should do differently with a damaged vs. avulsed tooth, such as:
- Protect your mouth: Damaged teeth can be sharp. So, prevent further injury by gently covering sharp edges with a piece of sugarless gum or dental wax.
- Keep the pieces: While an emergency dentist may not reattach the pieces, they can use them as a guide to repair your tooth to its original size and shape.
- Control bacteria: Germs can easily make their way inside a damaged tooth. And, once there, they can cause bothersome tooth infections that threaten your oral health. So, keep bacteria under control by gently rinsing with a saltwater solution.
A Persistent or Sudden Toothache Dental Emergency
Sometimes, a minor toothache is the result of worn tooth enamel. Other times, however, a toothache is an indicator of something more serious, like a dental abscess or infection.
For this dental emergency, it is best to contact a dentist as soon as you notice the pain. Getting early treatment could help you avoid devastating issues in the future, like tooth loss.
If you notice a pus-filled nodule on your gums, then do not drain it. This is an abscess, and the fluid inside can be infectious. Leave it alone until a professional can properly drain it. Otherwise, you may risk dental sepsis, which may prove deadly.
Have a dental emergency in Dallas, TX? Call us now.
Drs. Mihir Patel and Shaun Sigurdson can help you handle a dental emergency with quick, effective, and comfortable solutions. Contact Lakewood Dental Group here, or call our team at (214) 827-1885 for help now.