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What to do in a Dental Emergency

Like all other medical crises, dental emergencies occur when you least expect them. These can include knocked-out or cracked teeth, and a number of other mouth-related emergencies. It’s important to learn how to react accordingly because response time is crucial to recovery. In any situation, the best step to take is to see your dentist as soon as possible. However, there are things that you can do in a dental emergency to help alleviate the pain and damage.

Knocked Out Tooth

If an adult loses a tooth in an accident, you should:

  1. Find the tooth and retrieve it by holding the crown part only.
  2. Rinse it with milk if dirty. The owner of the tooth can also suck on it gently. Avoid scrubbing or soaking the tooth.
  3. Re-plant the tooth back in the right position. Hold it in place using a mouth guard or aluminium foil.
  4. If you can’t re-plant the tooth, store it inside the owner’s mouth next to the cheek or in some milk. The important thing is not to let it dry out. Then get to the dentist immediately.

If it is a child that has lost the tooth, the steps are similar but there are some important differences:

  1. Look for the tooth and retrieve it by holding the crown part only.
  2. Rinse it with milk or owner’s saliva if dirty. Avoid scrubbing or soaking the tooth.
  3. Re-plant the tooth back in the right position and hold it. If it is a baby tooth, don’t replant it. Doing so might cause damage to the developing permanent tooth.
  4. If the tooth is a permanent one and you can’t re-plant it, store the tooth inside the owner’s mouth next to the cheek or in milk. The important thing is not to let it dry. Then go to see a dentist immediately.
Chipped, Fractured or Cracked Tooth

A chipped, fractured or cracked tooth can either be minimal or severe. You’ll know that it’s severe when there is associated pain, gum swelling or exposure of nerve endings. Whatever the case may be, go to your dentist right away to get treatment. Delayed treatment for chipped or cracked teeth may hurt your chances for saving the tooth.

Bleeding/Swollen Lips or Cheeks

The lip or cheek may bleed or become swollen after accidentally biting it. If left untreated, the bite may get infected. The most common first aid is to rinse the mouth with salty warm water. This will promote healing and lessen the swelling.

If the swelling does not subside after a day, it might be infected. Seek help from your dentist immediately.

Abscesses and Swollen Gums

Swollen gums may mean infection or trauma to a tooth. A more serious cause of swollen gums is called an abscess, where there is a build-up of thick yellowish or greenish opaque liquid (pus). Abscesses are often painful and may cause enlarged lymph glands and facial swelling. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, take the following steps:

  1. Visit the chemist and get some over-the-counter pain medicine to ease the pain. Do not apply anything on the abscess.
  2. Apply a cold compress to help reduce the swelling. You can ask for prescription antibiotics from a doctor to reduce the infection, but it will not remove the source itself.
  3. Get immediate treatment from your dentist. Only by doing so can the source of infection be removed.
Trauma on the Lips, Cheeks, or Gums

A trip or fall may cause trauma on your gums, cheeks, and lips. If you see any bleeding or swelling, don’t panic. What you need to do in a dental emergency like this is press down a clean cloth on the wound. Make sure to hold it for 10 minutes and to sit upright. Afterward, apply a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling. Rinse the wound with salt water to promote healing and eliminate the chance of infection. If the bleeding hasn’t subsided after some time, seek dental treatment right away.

Jaw Pain

If you experience jaw pain when eating or opening your mouth, you can apply a cold compress to help lessen it. You can also take anti-inflammation medicines prescribed by a doctor. If the jaw pain doesn’t go away after a few days, you need to visit your dentist immediately.

Get Emergency Dental Treatment at Pymble Dental Practice

Knowing what to do in a dental emergency will help save your teeth from whatever accident you may experience. If you are an athlete or you do manual labour, it’s advisable that you wear a mouthguard. This will help prevent any damage to your teeth in the event of an accident. However, if an accident does happen, getting emergency dental treatment right away is key to reducing pain and saving the tooth.

If you’re located in Sydney’s North Shore, then contact Pymble Dental Practice as soon as your dental emergency has occurred. Our experienced dentists can perform a variety of emergency dental services like gum infection treatment, toothache treatment, tooth surgery and can also fix broken teeth and fillings.

Helpful Resources

Brushing Your Teeth
What to do in a Dental Emergency
Dental Health for Babies & Toddlers
Bruxism & Teeth Grinding
Causes of Sensitive Teeth

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