Tips for Dealing with a Dental Emergency

If you lose or crack a tooth, do you know what to do to increase your chances of saving the tooth? We have some useful tips to help your odds of success.

Tooth Knocked Out?

If one (or more) of your teeth are knocked out, follow these five tips to help you cope with the situation successfully.

1. Be sure to pick up the lost tooth from the top, which is the crown. Avoid touching the bottom of the tooth, which is the root area.

2. Gently rinse off the tooth. You want it to be as clean as possible, but don’t scrub it or take away any tissue attached to the tooth.

3. If possible, place the tooth gently back in its socket. Bite down slowly while holding it in place.

4. If you are unable to put the tooth back in its socket, place it in a small container filled with milk.

5. As soon as possible, get in touch with your dentist and get an appointment that day. The longer you wait for your dentist to re-implant the tooth, the lower the chances of it being successful.

What If A Tooth Becomes Loose?

The first step is to call your dentist immediately to make an appointment as soon as possible. Before your appointment, gently try to move the tooth back to its original position. Don’t force it! Bite down to keep the tooth from moving further.

Have A Chipped or Cracked Tooth?

If you chip a tooth, it isn’t as severe of a dental emergency as if you lose a tooth. But be careful when eating so that you don’t damage the tooth further. And make an appointment in the next week or so to have your dentist fix the problem before it becomes more severe.

But if you happen to crack a tooth, consider it a dental emergency. The problem is that the fracture may go to the inside of the tooth and do major damage. Here’s what you should do if you fracture a tooth:

1. Clean your mouth out by gently rinsing thoroughly with warm water.

2. If the fracture is caused by facial trauma, apply a cold compress to the area to minimize any swelling.

3. Take acetaminophen (not aspirin) according to the packaging directions to alleviate pain.

4. Never apply a painkiller to the gum because it can burn the gum tissue. This includes Orajel, which often is marketed for these types of procedures.

An X-ray will be needed in order for your dentist to properly diagnose the condition of your tooth. If the pulp is not damaged, the tooth might only need a crown. If the soft tissue inside of the tooth (the tooth pulp) is damaged, your tooth may need a root canal. If the tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will inform you of the various alternatives for replacing missing teeth, such as implant-supported restorations and bridges.

Sources: MouthHealthy.org (ADA), YourDentistryGuide.com

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