When you are sitting comfortably in your home and suddenly experience an all-out dental emergency, it is not uncommon for you to panic. When it comes to how dental emergencies work, there are some common questions you need to have the right answers to.
Because time is the essence in such a time, you need to have the right information and guidelines to steer you in the right direction as to what exactly you should do. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions that will appropriately equip you, leaving you strong, steadfast, and informed.
#1: I have a chipped or broken tooth. What do I do?
Even if you are not experiencing any pain yet, it is important that you see an emergency dentist immediately. The internal and delicate parts of the tooth may, at this point, be exposed to the different types of bacteria residing in the mouth. And if the tooth remains unprotected, it could result in new decay, and your emergency dentist needs to evaluate how serious the problem is right away.
#2: What really is considered a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is characterized by sudden swelling, pain, and a huge amount of discomfort. On a general note, when you discovered that you couldn’t help yourself, it is important that you understand oral health problems rarely fix themselves and don’t just go away quickly. If you have swelling, knots, or bulges on your gums, that may also need urgent attention.
#3: An object is caught between my teeth; how do I remove it?
If it happened that you have a piece of food or any other small object caught between your teeth, you could try to remove this with dental floss; but do this very gently. Don’t try to use anything extremely sharp like a pin to get it out because you may end up causing some damages. If dental floss cannot remove what is there, contact your emergency dentist right away for an appointment.
#4: If I have a toothache; what are my options for relief?
If a severe throbbing has just woken you up from your sleep, you can brush and floss the teeth in order to dislodge any food fragments that might have been stuck between the teeth. You can use aspirin to help relieve the pain, but be careful not to put it directly against the gum where you are experiencing the pain. If the pain refuses to go away after a few days, call your emergency dentist, you may need an extraction.
You can also consider some home remedies like using clove oil and garlic on the affected teeth. However, this can only provide temporary relief, so you will still need to call your dentist.
#5: What should you do for a knocked-out tooth?
When you find yourself in such a situation as this, you should immediately go to your emergency dentist, and avoid touching the tooth. Gently hold the crown of the tooth and carefully rinse it in water so as to prevent further damage to the root. You need to protect the root by ensuring you keep the tooth intact, so don’t try to scrub it.
If it’s possible, gently try to insert the root back in the socket, but if this is not what you can do, just put the tooth in a cup of milk or water to keep it wet.
#6: What happens if I lose a tooth filling?
If you suddenly lose a filling, give your dentist a call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. While you are waiting, you can reach out for dental cement at your grocery or pharmacy stores to help as a temporary gap. You can also cover the cavity with sugar-free gum, but ensure you are choosing a sugar-free gum because introducing sugar into the area around the cavity can cause severe pain.
#7: My child’s baby tooth is knocked out; what should I do?
You will need to contact an emergency dentist as soon as you can because you will need an experienced person to help you with this kind of situation. You should not try to replant a baby tooth because of the likelihood for damage while the tooth grows.
#8: What is the best way to address a jaw fracture?
This kind of injury requires immediate medical attention. A severe head injury can be very dangerous and life-threatening and don’t forget that an emergency medical team are likely to get to you faster than it would take you to get to the hospital. You should also know that this kind of thing may not be covered by dental insurance, therefore, it will fall under medical.
#9: I do have anxiety when dealing with dentists, can I be put to sleep?
If this is necessary, there are several sedation for anxiety that can be used for you, including nitrous oxide. It is very common to have anxiety when going to see a dentist. Many people experience this; so, you are not alone. And if it is in the case of emergency, the potential for pain unnerve you even more.
#10: What is the best way to deal with noticeable swelling?
Infection is usually the cause of swelling, and if such is also causing you to have difficulty breathing, or swollen eyes, you definitely need to get an emergency dental care as soon as you can because this may result in a quick spread of the infection.
Author: Dr Gerald O’Connor BDS NUI (hons)
Dr Gerald O’Connor is the principal dentist and owner of Killiney Dental. Dr O’Connor graduated with an honours dental degree from University College Cork in 1998. He has since worked as a general dental surgeon in the UK and Ireland and has over 20 years experience in the dental field, with a particular interest in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Dr O’Connor is an active member of the Irish Dental Association, sitting on its Quality Patient Safety Committee, and is a Irish Dental Council registered dentist.