Handling Dental Emergencies
dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially
serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can
increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more
extensive and expensive treatment down the road. Call our office at 559-673-3698 during or after hours.
Here's a quick summary of what to do for some common dental problems.
First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to
remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress
to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin
or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because
it may burn the gum tissue. Contact us as soon as possible.
Chipped or broken teeth.
Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken
pieces. If there's bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for
about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to
the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth
to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. Contact us as soon as
Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually
exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it's
dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If
possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it's facing the
right way. Never force it into the socket. If it's not possible to
reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of
milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is
not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as
Save-a-Tooth. In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible.
Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those
seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being
Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth.
See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist's office, to
relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or
cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
(such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.
Objects caught between teeth.
First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the
object. If you can't get the object out, see your dentist. Never use a
pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These
instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface.
Lost filling. As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.
If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon
as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can't get to the
dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to
apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be
purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your
grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before
doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental
cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in
place. Do not use super glue!
Broken braces wires.
If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your
cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the
wire into a more comfortable position. If you can't reposition the
wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece
of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist's office. Never cut the
wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.
Loose brackets and bands.
Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic
wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion.
See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose
band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it
recemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).
Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in
the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition
that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection
possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Because of the serious oral health
and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your
dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on
your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and
draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild
salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water)
several times a day.
Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums,
and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here's what
- Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
- Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the
outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
the bleeding doesn't stop, see your dentist right away or go to a
hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding
site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.