Dental emergencies can strike without warning: severe pain, a collision on the soccer field that results in the loss of a tooth, or even an automobile accident that causes broken teeth and lacerations in the mouth.
The term “dental emergency” is a good indication that these problems shouldn’t wait until the next time the office is open but should be attended to promptly. Other dental emergencies include injuries to the gums, an abscess, swelling, and drainage from the mouth. Immediate care can help prevent the problem from getting worse.
What should I do for a knocked-out tooth?
You should take immediate action to save the tooth that has been knocked out. Keep the tooth moist so that there is a better chance that we’ll be able to reattach it.
If the tooth fell on the ground, rinse it off. If possible place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. You can also hold it between your cheek and gum or put in a container of milk.
If available, a tooth preservation product approved by the American Dental Association can help keep the tooth moist and secure.
What about other dental emergencies?
Until you can see the dentist, you should focus on relieving pain and preventing infection. A warm plain or salt water rinse can help keep your mouth clean, while cold compresses or an ice pack can help ease pain and keep swelling down.
Place a washcloth or similar protection between the ice pack and your skin. Never apply ice directly to your skin.
Gentle, direct pressure can slow or stop bleeding. Patients should be kept calm; children may need emotional support from parents, especially if there is any pain.