Common Dental Emergencies


How To Deal With The Most Common Dental Emergencies And Get Instant Relief

Knowing when you need immediate dental attention is important to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy and receive the care they need. Although some dental problems can wait a week or two, emergency situations often have long-term consequences if left untreated for too long.

Do you know what constitutes a dental emergency? Read on to learn the six most common dental emergencies and when you need to see an emergency dentist.

Dental emergencies are usually painful or uncomfortable. Whatever dental emergency you’re dealing with, the best course of action always involves the following steps:

  • clean the area
  • manage the pain
  • contact your dentist

Your dentist will fit you in as soon as they can, and give you tips on staying comfortable until your appointment.

How To Identify A Dental Emergency?

Does a weird-feeling gum constitute an emergency, or are you being dramatic? Although it can feel like you’re causing a scene, dental injuries can result in permanent damage if not treated right away.

If you feel like you’re overreacting, use this handy checklist to figure out whether you need an immediate dental appointment or if it can wait a day or two.

  • Have you chipped or broken any teeth?
  • Is a tooth partially dislodged?
  • Has a tooth been knocked out of your mouth?
  • Have you lost a filling?
  • Have you lost a dental crown?
  • Have you broken a wire from your braces?
  • Do you have a painful pimple-like swelling (an abscess) in your mouth?
  • Do you have bleeding gums?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you need to see an emergency dentist right away!

6 Most Common Dental Emergencies

Any dental emergency can result in long-term health consequences. These are the six most common dental emergencies that require an urgent dental fix, as well as what you can do while waiting for your emergency appointment.

Knocked-Out Tooth

When you’re a child, losing a tooth is a chance to make some cash. As an adult, the experience is decidedly less exciting…

You can have a tooth knocked out while playing contact sports, after falling, or during an incident involving a blow to the face.

What To Do

When you’ve knocked out a tooth, try not to lose it. Pick it up by the top to avoid damaging the nerves of the root. Gently rinse off any dirt using lukewarm water. Don’t scrub the tooth or remove attached pieces of tissue.

Next, try to place the tooth back in its original position in your mouth. Make sure it faces the correct way. Bite on a handkerchief to hold your tooth in position. If replacing it isn’t possible, or if it feels like you’ll have to force it into position, place the tooth under your tongue or in a container filled with cold milk. If you don’t have milk, use a cell growth medium (like Save-a-Tooth) or water with a pinch of salt.

See your dentist as soon as you can. You have the highest chance of saving your tooth if you see your dentist within an hour of it being knocked out. If you’ve lost the tooth completely, your dentist will use a denture, bridge, or dental implant to replace it.

Cracked Or Chipped Tooth

Whether you bit into hard candy or got knocked in the face by a sharp elbow, a chipped or cracked tooth is a dental emergency. Even a small crack or chip in your teeth can result in permanent tooth damage or a serious infection.

What To Do

Save any pieces that detach from the rest of the tooth. Use warm salt water to rinse your mouth. If you’re bleeding, use gauze to staunch the wound. Apply the gauze for ten minutes or until your mouth stops bleeding. If the break resulted in a sharp edge, cover it with sugarless chewing gum or some orthodontic wax.

To help with swelling and to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, lip, or cheek near the chipped tooth. You can take Tylenol or Advil to alleviate pain.

Inexplicable Toothache

If you have persistent toothache for more than 1-2 days, you need immediate dental attention. Toothaches can be caused by:

lodged food
gum irritation or infection
a broken tooth
a cavity
tooth decay
a damaged filling
an abscessed tooth

Persistent toothache often indicates a deep cavity or serious infection. Depending on the cause of your toothache, your dentist may recommend a filling, dental crown, root canal, or tooth removal.

What To Do

Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. If you have any food stuck between your teeth or in your gums, use dental floss to remove it. If your gums or mouth are swollen, use a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to relieve swelling and pain. Take over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol.

Important: Make sure you DO NOT have any contra-indications or allergies to these pain medications before taking them.

Avoid placing an aspirin or any other painkiller against your gums near the sore tooth. This can burn the gum tissue and leave you more uncomfortable than you were in the first place!

Lost Filling

If you’ve lost a filling, your tooth is probably sensitive and painful. This is because when a filling falls out, the tooth’s dentine is left exposed and vulnerable. Dentine is the second layer of the tooth inside the hard enamel. It is sensitive and more susceptible to decay than enamel.

If left untreated, decay or damage to the tooth may need more than a replacement filling, like a root canal.

What To Do

Remove the filling from your mouth to prevent yourself from accidentally swallowing it. Limit eating until you see your dentist and avoid chewing in that area. Take Ibuprofen and apply a cold compress to alleviate pain.

Before you see your dentist, use over-the-counter dental cement to seal the hole. If you don’t have access to this product, you can use sugar-free gum to fill the cavity. Sugar-filled gum cause pain and discomfort.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is an infection at the root of a tooth or in between your teeth and gums. They form as a result of a bacterial infection. Left untreated, abscesses can permanently damage the surrounding tissue and teeth. The infection can also spread to other parts of your body and negatively affect your overall health.

An abscessed tooth causes pain that radiates to your jaw, neck, or ear. The pain may intensify when you lie down.

What To Do

To ease any pain or discomfort, frequently rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution made with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of water. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek in the affected area. Use anti-inflammatory medication to ease any discomfort.

Broken Orthodontics

Orthodontic braces straighten crooked teeth to improve your smile aesthetics and functionality. Sometimes, a wire comes loose in your mouth, or a bracket detaches from your tooth. Although it doesn’t happen often, people have been breaking their braces since their invention!

What To Do

If a wire is poking the inside of your mouth, you can attempt to move the wire into a more comfortable position using the eraser end of a pencil. If this doesn’t work, use orthodontic wax, a cotton ball, or some gauze to cover the sharp end.

If you have a loose band, keep it in a safe place until your orthodontist can replace it for you.

Rinse your mouth with salt water to aid in healing of any cuts caused by the broken wires. Avoid sticky foods that could complicate the situation!

Who Do You Call? Blue Haven Dental!

When dealing with any dental emergency, the best thing to do is to remain calm and get hold of your dentist as soon as you can.

Whether you need an emergency dentist or your yearly checkup, Blue Haven Dental is the place to be! With years of experience serving the Orleans area, you’re guaranteed to see a friendly face while getting your smile fixed up. Contact us today to find out about our emergency dental services.