Dental Emergency: What You Need to Know to Handle the Situation

It’s interesting how when it comes to an emergency, some people don’t find their oral health as important as the rest of their body. When anything in your mouth becomes broken or damaged, the implications can be quite serious, even if it seems like the situation can be easily managed at home. A tooth that breaks might not even hurt if no nerve endings have been exposed, so it feels like it’s something that can be dealt with at a later stage. But should you wait? Advances in dental technology means that even fairly major issues can be remedied if you act quickly. The simple fact of the matter is that any changes to your teeth, gums, or soft tissue inside your mouth should be examined by a dentist as soon as possible, and it’s not wise to delay. So what actually constitutes what your dentist would consider to be a dental emergency? And how can you manage the emergency at home until you’re able to see a dentist?

Missing Tooth

If you suffer an accident that causes your tooth to be knocked out, then the race against the clock begins. Your dentist will actually be able to reattach the tooth in many instances, provided you manage the situation correctly. Carefully pick up the tooth and rinse it off, if it has fallen onto the ground. Place the tooth into a small sealable container of milk or lightly salted water. You must then get to an emergency dentist as soon as possible, since any delays of more than an hour greatly reduce the dentist’s ability to insert the tooth back into place. Some dentists suggest that you can reinsert the tooth back into your place and hold it there until you get to their office, but this is not recommended with young children, as the tooth can easily be swallowed.

Dental Abscess

While an abscess can seemingly grow from nothing overnight, the issue that caused it will have been developing for some time, and is a clear example of why oral hygiene should never be neglected. Bacteria can enter the gum via even the most microscopic of cracks and can rapidly lead to a painful inflammation – the sort of pain you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. If you’re lucky, you might experience the precursor to this intense pain, which is a dull, numb feeling in the affected area, and this is when you should rush to a dentist. Your dentist will drain the abscess, which contains a large amount of pus. Medication will also be prescribed to combat the infection, although further dental work will be needed to fix the issue that led to the abscess.

Missing Crown/Cap

Dental crowns are made to last for decades, but standard wear and tear can cause them to become loose and fall off. Many dentists now suggest using zirconia dental crowns, simply due to their impressive durability. If your crown has fallen off, spit it out and rinse it. Of course, you should see your dentist as soon as possible, and if the missing crown has exposed nerve endings, the pain might be sufficient to visit an emergency after hours dentist. Keep your mouth clean with a salt water rinse (a teaspoon of water dissolved into a glass of lukewarm water). Until you see your dentist, you can place the crown back into place with a tiny amount of dental adhesive.

Broken Tooth

Again, clean your mouth with a salt water rinse – don’t use mouthwash as this can seriously irritate the affected area. If the tooth or surrounding gum is bleeding, hold a dry black teabag against it for 15 to 20 minutes. Even if there’s no blood or pain, it’s important to see the dentist as soon as you’re able to so that what is left of the tooth can be salvaged. A crown might be necessary, depending on the severity of the breakage. If there’s a large amount of blood that doesn’t stop or at least slow significantly within around an hour, you might want to consider visiting a doctor or the hospital.

14 thoughts on “Dental Emergency: What You Need to Know to Handle the Situation

  1. Dental emergencies can happen at any time so it’s important to be prepared. As soon as the emergency happens, you’ll want to contact your dentist for advice and to make an appointment. There are certainly some things you can do at home to minimize your discomfort.

  2. Hopefully, many of us won’t have to deal with a dental emergency in our lives. It isn’t the worst thing in the world. But, it is imperative that we know what we need to do in order to grow and practice good hygiene. When we do that, there is less of a likelihood that we will be stranded due to things like missing teeth.

  3. Very relevant article for our practice. While a good deal of people address dental emergencies appropriately, we regularly encounter people that neglect the seriousness of dental emergencies. Great article!

  4. It is good to know what to do with dental emergencies. Getting dental surgery is needed for a lot of these, but if you take the right precautions, the surgery could go a lot smoother. Your advice is perfect, thanks for sharing!

  5. I like that you emphasized the importance of visiting the dentist right away in these situations. Like you said, problems like a missing tooth can actually be handled easily if you get to the dentist in time. Knowing how to deal with certain problems and knowing where to go in case of emergency dental problems can help you save your teeth. Thanks for the article.

  6. I had a dental abscess around my wisdom tooth it was aweful!! I didn’t need to get it pulled but got so sick from it I remember waking up in the morning because I was too dizzy to stay asleep. Some antibiotics actually cleared it up real quick but I was so sick for weeks. It didn’t really hurt though, but you could see the gum seperating from my tooth.

  7. It’s reassuring to know that the dentist can often reattach a tooth after it being knocked out. Thanks for this article on what you need to know to handle a dental emergency. My boys are always doing crazy and stunts and getting hurt. I just want to be prepared for anything!

  8. Your description of the pain an abscess can cause and its actual growth vs. how it appears to come about was a nice one. Your tips about when to use a salt water rinse could prove useful as well.

  9. Thank you for sharing this helpful info. Dental emergencies can be so incredibly painful! It is great to know what is under time pressure and what isn’t though.

  10. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is deserving of an emergency visit when it comes to dental care, but you really indicate which situations can wait and which can’t. Great post!

  11. dental emergency is some thing that everyone need know how to handle. when ever peoples facing this kind of situation they gonne out of their mind they don’t even know what to do on that time. Thanks for sharing this information.

  12. Most people don’t understand the severity of a dental emergency and that lack of neglect can severely deteriorate their dental health. This list would surely help individuals know what constitutes has a dental emergency and they would likely avail the emergency services in order to ensure that the damage is kept to the minimum. Thanks for sharing this insightful post!

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