Dental Emergencies

Dental EmergenciesWith dental emergencies, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Focus on stopping any bleeding and protected any injured teeth. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen during a dental emergency. These medications are anticoagulants and can cause excessive bleeding. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used for pain relief following the directions on the label. We offer emergency dentistry in our Temecula, CA office.

If it is a life-threatening emergency go immediately to the hospital or dial 911. Otherwise, make sure you call your dentist. Injuries to the mouth can result in infections, loss of teeth, and other complications.

The following is a guide for what to do in possible dental emergencies.

Severe Mouth Pain

Severe pain is a common problem that can have many causes, including; a cracked or broken tooth, debris stuck under the gum line, a lost filling or crown, or an infection. You should call your dentist immediately to schedule a thorough exam to determine the cause of your pain and an appropriate treatment. Acetaminophen can be taken for the pain and you can apply ice to the affected area for 10-20 minutes of every hour until you can see your dentist.

Possible Broken Jaw

If you have broken your jaw, you should get to an emergency room immediately. Do not move your jaw, and secure it in place with a towel, handkerchief, necktie or other material that can be tied around the jaw and up over the top of the head. Apply cold compresses to reduce the swelling and have someone take you to the ER or call 911.

Bitten or Lacerated Tongue or Lip

If you have a small cut, less than ¼ inch, then it will most likely heal on its own. Gently clean the area with gauze and apply a cold compress to minimize swelling. If the cut is larger or does not stop bleeding after 10 minutes, go to an emergency room.

Lost Filling or Crown

A lost filling or crown can be quite painful. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

In the case of either a missing filling or crown you can use clove oil to relieve the pain caused by air coming in contact with the exposed part of your tooth. Clove oil can be found over-the-counter at pharmacies and supermarkets. Simply apply it to the exposed part of the tooth with a cotton swab. Applying an ice pack to your face over the area that hurts can also help with pain.

Lost Filling

If you found your filling, store it in a safe place and take it with you when you visit the dentist. You can fill in the hole with tooth wax or cement, available over-the-counter at the pharmacy. Do not try to use any other products to fill the tooth.

Lost Crown

If you found the crown, you can temporarily replace it yourself using denture adhesive, dental cement or toothpaste to protect the tooth until you can see the dentist. Just be sure to gently clean any debris from the inside of the crown first.

Toothache

If you are experiencing a toothache, you should first rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the affected tooth to remove any debris that may be trapped under the gum line or between the teeth. If the tooth continues to bother you, you need to schedule a dental exam as soon as possible.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

If you chip or break a tooth, it is sometimes possible to reattach the pieces if you follow the following steps.

• Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply gauze using firm pressure if there is bleeding.
• If possible, find the piece(s) of broken tooth.
• Apply cold compresses to the injury, once the bleeding has stopped, to minimize swelling.
• If bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of using firm pressure, go straight to your dentist or the emergency room.
• Save the pieces of tooth and gently rinse, placing a towel over the sink drain to ensure they do not get washed down the drain.
• Put the tooth pieces in a small, sealed container covered with milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.

Tooth Knocked Out

In case you have an emergency where your tooth is knocked out, there are certain steps to take quickly. If you completely knock out an adult tooth, you have a 1-2 hour window in which to get to your dentist to have a chance at successfully re-implanting the tooth. If it is a child’s baby tooth, then it is unlikely that it can be re-implanted, and will be replaced when the adult tooth grows in.

Follow these steps to improve your chances for a successful re-implantation.

• Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply gauze using firm pressure if there is bleeding.
• Apply cold compresses to the injury, once the bleeding has stopped, to minimize swelling.
• If bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of using firm pressure, go straight to your dentist or the emergency room.
• Save the tooth, holding it only by the crown (the part that is normally visible about the gums) and gently rinse, placing a towel over the sink drain to ensure it does not get washed down the drain. DO NOT scrub the tooth or remove any gum tissue that is still attached.
• If possible, place the tooth back in its proper position in the gum socket but do not force it.
• If the tooth cannot be replaced in the gum socket, put it in a small, sealed container covered with milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.

Complications with Braces

Discomfort

Anytime you have your braces adjusted, it is normal to experience discomfort for a day or two. Use warm salt water to rinse your mouth or you can take acetaminophen to lessen discomfort.

Inhaled Piece of Appliance

If you inhale a piece of the appliance, you need to call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

Swallowed Piece of Appliance

Swallow a piece of the appliance? You need to call you dentist or orthodontist right away to discuss the appropriate steps to take.

Lost Wire or Ligature

If the rubber ligature has come off and you have found it you may be able to put it back on with sterile tweezers. Otherwise, this situation calls for a visit to your orthodontist.

Loose Bracket

If you have a loose bracket that has twisted on the wire and is out of place, try to gently return it to its normal position and use over-the-counter dental wax to hold it in place. Call your orthodontist to let them know about the situation and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Wire Poking You

Call your orthodontist for an appointment. Meanwhile, you can use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to try to push the wire flat against your tooth. If you cannot get the wire into a comfortable position, you can cover it with over-the-counter dental wax until the orthodontist sees you.

Food Lodged Between Teeth

With or without braces, food stuck between your teeth is pretty common and hardly an emergency, but it can be quite uncomfortable. If you are having a problem with this, try tying a small knot in a piece of dental floss to dislodge it. You can also use an interdental brush or toothpick. Be careful so that you don’t cut the gum tissue. If you are still unable to remove the object, see your dentist.