If you experience a dental emergency at night or over the weekend when dental offices are usually closed, you may not know what to do. You may not even know whether your situation warrants immediate care or if you can wait to be seen by a dentist.
Typically, if you experience any of the following, you need to be treated as soon as possible:
- A knocked out permanent tooth
- A loose tooth caused by an injury or trauma
- An abscessed tooth
- Severe pain
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Knocking out a permanent tooth is a major concern, especially if it’s a front tooth. Your tooth can be saved as long as the root is not damaged and as long as it is re-implanted within about 30 minutes. If you can’t reach your dentist within that timeframe, call an emergency room or a 24-hour dental service.
If possible, hold your tooth within the socket. If the tooth was completely dislodged out of your mouth, be sure to handle it carefully without touching the roots. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse it in milk if it is dirty. Do not wipe the tooth clean with any type of cloth because it may cause damage.
A Loose Tooth Caused By Injury or Trauma
A loose tooth can easily become looser or fall out, so it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. A loose tooth caused by bruxism or periodontal disease can be prevented by routine dental care and is not necessarily a dental emergency. But, when a loose tooth is caused by an injury or trauma, it is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. Treatment for a loose tooth caused by an injury or trauma includes splinting, which binds the loose tooth to other permanent teeth until it becomes stable within the socket.
An abscessed tooth is an infection near the tooth root or within in the gum line that can appear as pimple-like swelling. This type of infection can damage surrounding teeth and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. The oral health and general health conditions that can result from an abscess warrant immediate contact with your dentist. Usually, a next-day appointment is fast enough to address the problem. Until you can see your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times throughout the day.
Dental emergencies can involve severe pain. Dental pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. However, many people do not know that they should avoid aspirin or aspirin substitutes since they can slow clotting. You should also never apply aspirin directly to the painful area within the mouth.
Before you are able to see your dentist, you can ease swelling by applying ice to the sore area or the cheek on and off for 20 minutes. If you notice the swelling affecting the eye or airway, go to the emergency room.
To schedule your consultation with Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands, please call (818) 306-5153 or fill out our online contact form today.