What to Do During a Dental Emergency

No one ever expects an accident to happen. All emergencies happen without warning! This is especially true for mouth and teeth injuries. Knowing how to respond is essential in an emergency. It will allow you to use every minute to help lessen the severity of the issue until medical attention is acquired. Knowing what to do and who to call after an injury case can help ensure the best outcome possible. Some situations require immediate attention, while others may not. Nevertheless, it helps to know the difference between a dental emergency and a lesser situation. This blog will go over what to do during a dental emergency and how to identify one.

What is a Dental Emergency?

In general, a dental emergency is any dental problem that needs immediate treatment to stop bleeding, alleviate severe pain, or save a tooth. The most common type of dental emergencies include:

Broken Tooth

A great majority of dental emergencies come from broken teeth. Most broken tooth injuries result from playing sports, car accidents, or any other type of severe mouth trauma. If this occurs, collect any fragments you can find to take them to the dentist. Clean the injured area with warm water. Finally, place a cloth over the site of injury. Once you’ve taken care of these principal actions, call the dentist immediately to make an emergency appointment.

Loss of Permanent Tooth

If an injury results in the loss of a permanent tooth, it is essential that you take immediate action. First, locate the missing tooth if possible. By touching the crown of the tooth only, place it back to its socket in the mouth. You may need to hold it in place. If you cannot place the tooth, put it in a cup of fresh milk to preserve it. After these steps, call a dentist immediately.

Painful Toothache

Painful toothaches can be an indication of an abscess or other infection in the mouth. The first thing you should do is rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean it. Then place a cold compress on the cheek if swelling. Call a dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

Mouth Injury

Other types of mouth injury that result from trauma might require immediate medical attention. If an impact results in a jaw injury, the jawline may look distorted. Keep the injured person’s face as motionless as possible until you get emergency assistance. If the injured person bit their cheeks, lips, or tongue and the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, call a dentist or doctor that can provide immediate assistance.

What Isn’t a Dental Emergency?

There are many painful injuries that are not considered dental emergencies. These situations don’t always require professional attention. They can usually be dealt with at home. Common examples of injuries that are not considered dental emergencies include:

  • Soft Tissue Injury – a soft tissue injury, such as a bitten lip or blow to the cheek, might happen. In this situation, apply firm pressure to the site to control the bleeding. Continue the pressure for 15 minutes. If swelling and bruising occur, apply a cold compress.
  • Minor Dental Injury – If the teeth are not loose or disrupted and the bleeding stops, it is not considered a dental emergency. However, if you cannot stop the bleeding, then make sure to get checked by a dentist as soon as possible.

Anytime you are unsure whether an injury is an emergency, call your dentist’s emergency number to speak with a health professional and get insight.

The woman puts a cold compress useful for toothache.

Ways to Avoid Dental Injuries

Having a healthy mouth is the best thing you can do to protect your teeth. Healthier teeth mean stronger teeth, which will reduce the severity of the accident. Simple things you can do to keep it as healthy as possible include brushing and flossing on a daily basis. When engaging in sports such as basketball, hockey, and wrestling, you can prevent injuries by wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards hold your teeth, jaw, and mouth in place to prevent injury after impact or contact.

Identifying a dental emergency and knowing how to react can make all the difference when it comes to saving a tooth. We hope this blog helped you see what to do during a dental emergency. Dental emergencies that involve the face or mouth and need immediate care include jaw fractures and dislocations, serious soft tissue injuries, and abscesses with severe swelling. If you are immunocompromised or have a serious illness, it is especially important to get treated by emergency medical personnel or a hospital. Conditions that you should call 911 or go directly to the hospital include sudden impact to the head or neck, severe swelling or bleeding, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Carmichael Dentistry can help you with your dental emergency! Give us a call at (858) 484-2560 or click here to schedule an appointment.