Nobody wants to face a dental emergency, but it happens all the time, and to anyone at that, even people who practice proper oral and dental care. Worse, a dental emergency can take place even when you’re doing something as ordinary as eating popcorn while watching TV. One solid bite down an unpopped corn kernel and you could end up with a cracked tooth or worse.
A chipped tooth is just one of many types of dental emergencies. Some experience severely swollen or bleeding gums. Others get several teeth knocked out after a rather violent ice hockey game. These dental emergencies need to be attended to right away, especially those that involve tooth loss.
It goes without saying that a knocked out permanent tooth can really hurt, so it’s imperative to do something about the pain and take care of the injury until you reach the dentist’s office. However, you should get to a dentist within 15-30 minutes, because it improves your chances of having it re-implanted successfully.
To make sure that the knocked out tooth is still viable for reattachment, you should pick it up gently by the crown. Do not touch it by the root to avoid further damage. If it has dirt on it, rinse it off with milk or water. Wiping it off would damage it, so refrain from doing so. You need to keep the tooth moist so place the tooth inside your mouth while on your way to the dentist. You can also drop it into a glass of milk, although saliva or water will do if there isn’t any milk around.
Your dentist will immediately attempt to slip the tooth back into place. It can be a simple procedure or a complicated one depending on whether or not the tooth is broken. How long the tooth was out of its socket, and other factors will determine what other course of action your dentist will take. To keep the tooth in place, your dentist will use a soft wire or a composite material that will splint the knocked out tooth on either side.
Whatever dental emergency you’re facing, it’s always best to get to a dentist quickly. Fortunately for us, most dentists make time for dental emergencies even after hours, that is if you can reach them. That’s why it’s important that you have your emergency dentist’s contact information with you at all times.
For a more in-depth guide on what to do during a dental emergency, check out the following infographic.