Dealing with Dental Emergencies

Posted on in Cosmetic, Family, News

painOur lives today are filled with numerous activities that can cause a dental emergency. Anything from eating popcorn or other seemlingly harmless activities can suddenly turn into a painful injury.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency occurs when a tooth breaks, cracks, becomes loose, or is knocked out completely. A crown coming off may also cause injury to the mouth tissue and become painful. You can help prevent a dental emergency by wearing a mouthguard while participating in sporting activities, or avoiding eating foods that could crack or break a tooth.

What should I do if my tooth is knocked out?

A tooth will have the best chance of survival if you can see your dentist within one hour of the emergency. Handling the tooth by the crown, and not the root, is best so that you avoid damaging the cells that are necessary to reattach the tooth to the bone. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove any dirt, but do not scrub it, and place it in your mouth between the cheek and the gum to keep it moist. If you can’t put it back in your mouth, keep it moist by wrapping it in a clean cloth or immerse it in milk. If the tooth is a baby tooth, there is no need to try and save the tooth, but it is still best to visit your dentist to make sure no broken pieces of the tooth remain in the mouth.

What should I do if my tooth is pushed out of position? 

It is best to see your dentist right away if your tooth is knocked out of position. You may try to reposition your tooth with light finger pressure, but it is very important not to force it.

What should I do if my tooth is chipped or fractured?

A tooth that is chipped is simply a minor fracture and can usually be smoothed by your dentist. A more severe fracture may have traumatized the tooth to the point that it may be lost. Because it can be difficult to see how severe the fracture may be, it is best to contact your dentist right away to see if they are able to save the tooth. If you are able to find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to your dental visit.

Information taken from the Academy of General Densitry, June 2013, Vol. 41. no. 6