For minor dental concerns, waiting a few days or a week to see your dentist is unlikely to cause any harm. Some situations, however, constitute a dental emergency and warrant an immediate trip to your dentist’s office. Thus, it’s important to be aware of what’s considered a true dental emergency and what’s not as urgent.
When any of the following situations occur, it’s essential to contact your dental office as soon as possible. The difference between being seen right away and waiting a few days can mean the difference between saving a tooth and losing a tooth.
- Chipped or broken tooth. Teeth commonly become chipped or broken due to injury or even chewing on ice or hardy candy. When this happens, make sure to rinse off and then save the chipped or broken pieces of tooth. You should also rinse your mouth out with warm water. In order to minimize swelling, apply an ice pack to the outside of the mouth near the chipped tooth. Finally, call your dentist to let them know about your damaged tooth.
- Fully dislodged tooth. If your tooth is knocked out, it’s essential to take action immediately. Holding the tooth by the crown, rinse off the root area. Never, under any circumstances, pick or pull tissue fragments out of the tooth. Sometimes, it’s possible to place the tooth back into the socket yourself. You can attempt it at home, but avoid forcing the tooth back in place. If you’re unable to get the tooth back in, place it in a cup of milk. Tell your dentist that you must be seen immediately; teeth that are replaced within an hour of being dislodged have the best chance of survival.
- Partially dislodged tooth. If your tooth is partially dislodged but still in the mouth, call your dentist right away. Until you can be seen, you can take some pain-relieving measures, like applying a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the affected area. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be helpful.
- Lost filling. Occasionally, fillings fall out and need to be replaced. If you find yourself missing a filling, contact your dentist immediately. In the meantime, you can try some home remedies, like sticking a piece of sugarless gum in the affected tooth. Many drug stores also carry over-the-counter dental cement that can also be used to temporarily replace the filling.
- Lost crown. Like fillings, dental crowns can sometimes fall out. If this happens, contact your dentist right away to request an appointment. Be sure to save the crown and bring it with you to your appointment. If your dentist isn’t able to see you immediately and you’re in pain, try applying some clove oil to the affected area. Once again, over-the-counter pain relievers might also be helpful.
- Abscesses. Abscesses are serious infections that can affect not only your oral health, but your overall health. They warrant immediate medical attention. If you discover a painful, pimple-like bump on your gums, see your dentist right away. Without treatment, abscesses can damage the teeth and surrounding tissues. The infection can also spread beyond the mouth to other parts of the body. While you’re waiting to be seen by your dentist, you can rinse your mouth out with salt water several times a day.
- Injury to the soft tissues. The soft tissues include the tongue, gums, cheeks, and lips. When these areas are injured, they often bleed. If your suffer a soft tissue injury, you’ll first want to control the bleeding. Rinse the mouth out with a salt water solution and apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth. You might also try using moist gauze and applying pressure to the injured area. If you’re unable to control the bleeding, visit your dentist or the ER immediately.
For more information about dental emergencies, contact Countryside Dental Group today.