We’ve all heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—but what happens when your prevention doesn’t work the way it was supposed to? When it comes to your teeth, be sure you have an emergency dentist ready to aid you no matter when you need them.
Whether you’re dealing with a cracked tooth, a broken jaw, or an infection, an emergency dentist at Cal Dental Group can help. Read on to find out more about the most common dental emergencies.
One of the most obvious signs of a dental emergency is putting your hand to your mouth and finding a dislodged tooth. The pain will be significant, but don’t let that distract you from calling your dentist.
The dentist will give you more specific directions for your situation, but they may tell you to rinse off the root if it’s dirty and place the tooth back in its socket. That may sound a little strange, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure your dentist can successfully reattach the tooth once you get to the clinic.
If you cannot put the tooth into its socket, your dentist may instead advise placing the tooth in a glass of milk. Why milk? Dropping your tooth in a glass of water can cause the cells on the root of your tooth to swell and burst, whereas this does not occur with milk. When you pick up and move the tooth, make sure you only handle it by the crown—keep your fingers away from the root as best as you can.
Ideally, you should see your dentist within 30 minutes so they can get your knocked-out tooth back where it belongs.
Cracked or Chipped Tooth
Teeth crack and chip all the time; however, just because it’s a common injury doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Even if you want to ignore it, the pain that comes from a chipped tooth may not afford you the opportunity.
If it will be a while before you can see your dentist, gently rinse your mouth with lukewarm to warm water and place gauze at the site of any bleeding. You can alleviate some pain and swelling by putting a cold compress on your face close to the site of the chip. Additionally, plan to avoid crunchy or otherwise hard foods as you recover from the injury.
You never know when a toothache may be a warning sign of something more serious, and oral pain can be very serious. Sometimes, a toothache may be completely manageable without a trip to your dentist, but you should call to be sure, especially if you notice any swelling.
Your first line of defense should not be painkillers—these can actually burn the tissue in your mouth, depending on the problem you’re facing. When you feel pain, call your dentist and apply a cold compress to your face at the site of the discomfort. Once you describe the situation to your dentist, they’ll tell you whether or not you need to go in.
Lost Crown or Filling
Crowns and fillings are placed in your mouth to bring damaged teeth back to peak functionality and health. When you lose a filling or a crown, you’re putting your mouth at risk of infection and damage.
While waiting to see your dentist, you can put a piece of sugarless gum where the crown or filling used to be—do not attempt to reattach the crown yourself. Whether you get a new crown or replace the old one is up to you, as long as you bring your crown—safely stowed in a resealable bag—with you to the dentist.
Post-Extraction Bleeding or Pain
When you have any teeth pulled, bleeding is to be expected. However, bleeding should stop after about an hour. If bleeding persists, be sure to give your dentist a call and put gauze over the extraction area in your mouth. Bite down on the gauze to apply pressure—this will help form a blood clot.
Refrain from just about all mouth activities; this means no eating, drinking, smoking, or spitting. And whatever you do, avoid any sucking motion. Suction can dislodge a blood clot and cause bleeding to continue.
Breaking your jaw isn’t easy to do, but it does happen. Traffic accidents can often lead to a broken jaw, as can sports injuries. If you think you’ve broken your jaw, your first stop should be to your emergency dentist or a hospital. Because broken jaws tend to go hand-in-hand with misaligned teeth, you’ll want to make an appointment to see your dentist no matter where you go for jaw treatment.
An infection should be treated with extreme care; it’s important to understand that an untreated infection can turn into sepsis, which may lead to death. If you think you may have an infection in your mouth—for instance, after a tooth extraction surgery—call your emergency dentist in Los Angeles immediately.
Infected teeth can lead to abscesses, which are pockets of pus that develop from a bacterial infection. This infection can spread quickly and damage your nerve endings. While you wait to see your emergency dentist, consider taking a medication like Tylenol to manage the pain.
After an extraction surgery, you should expect some discomfort. However, if the pain persists for several days and radiates into your neck or ear, call your dentist.
Broken orthodontics are rarely a major problem, but leaving them broken can have negative results on your oral health over time. For example, braces are meant to guide your teeth into the best places; if your braces break slightly, they can’t do their job effectively and may end up guiding your teeth into the wrong spots. Call your orthodontist when your orthodontics break, and they’ll be happy to help you.
Now that you know what the most common dental emergencies are, remember that if you’re not sure what to do, it’s best to call your dentist. Looking up your symptoms online can only take you so far, so trust the professionals at Cal Dental Group—we’re here to help!