When it's an Oral Health 9-1-1

Sometimes, dental emergencies strike after hours. And, while getting in to see your dentist as soon as you can should be the goal, we can offer a few tips to help get you through.

 

Toothache

If you have a toothache, gently clean the painful area with floss or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. If you experience facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area for relief. Take an over-the counter pain medication and call your dentist. Do not place aspirin on the gums or tooth. It can burn the tissue.

 

Knocked out tooth

Call your dentist immediately. Care within an hour of the incident is crucial to getting the tooth re-implanted. A few things you’ll want to do:

  • Control any bleeding with a moist gauze or cloth.
  • Recover the lost tooth.
  • If dirty, rinse away debris with water, gently. Don’t scrub or touch the root surface.
  • Put the tooth back in the socket immediately, if possible.
  • Keep the tooth moist at all times. If you can’t put it back in the socket, put it in milk, or even better, in a tooth preservation solution, usually available from a drug store. Tap water doesn’t work as well to preserve the cells remaining on the tooth root. Keeping the tooth moist can increase the chance of re-implantation.
  • It's best to see the dentist within 30 minutes, however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.

 

Loosened tooth

If you have knocked a tooth loose, try to reposition it using the tip of your finger to apply very light pressure. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Stabilize the tooth and hold it in place with a moist tissue or gauze.

 

Chipped tooth

Chipped teeth can sometimes be repaired with prompt dental care. If you chip or fracture a tooth:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water, use cold compresses to reduce swelling and contact your dentist immediately.
  • If a front tooth has suffered a large chip, try to find the missing piece and place it in a moist cloth or baggie with a few drops of water or saliva. It may be possible to reattach it.

 

Bitten lip or tongue

Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply pressure and cold compresses in order to stop the bleeding and reduce swelling. If bleeding doesn't stop, get to a hospital emergency room immediately.

 

Knocked out teeth. American Association of Endodontists. http://www.aae.org/patients/symptoms/knocked-out-teeth.aspx