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?
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.
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.
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.
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.