Emergencies

Dental emergencies can be frightening and painful – and prompt treatment is almost always required to ensure teeth have the best possible chance of survival.
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What To Do In A Dental Emergency

Sometimes teeth become fractured by trauma, or grinding or biting on hard objects. In other cases, fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely.

 

Most dental emergencies are accompanied by severe pain, but even if there is no pain involved, it’s essential to make an appointment with the dentist as quickly as possible. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize your physical health.

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Types Of Dental Emergencies

AVULSED TOOTH (TOOTH KNOCKED OUT)

If a tooth has been knocked completely out of the mouth, it’s essential to see a dentist immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

 

Here are some steps to take:

  1. Call our office.
  2. Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
  3. If possible, place it back into its socket – if not, tuck it into the cheek pouch.
  4. If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It’s important to keep the tooth from drying out.
  5. Get to our office, quickly and safely.

 

Dr. Garland will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy may be necessary.

LOST FILLING OR CROWN

When a crown or filling comes loose, it’s typically while you’re eating. Once this happens, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – and the crown no longer fits.

 

If the crown has dropped out of your mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that the dentist can reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.

 

If a dentist is not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:

  1. Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.
  2. Clean the crown and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement.  This can be purchased at the local pharmacy.
  3. If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
  4. DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.

 

The dentist will check the crown to see if it still fits.  If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated and a new crown will be made.

CRACKED OR BROKEN TEETH

Your teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes fractures are relatively painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it’s likely the pain will be extreme.

 

Fractures, cracks, and breaks are generally caused by trauma, grinding, or biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to see the dentist as quickly as possible.

 

Where a segment of the tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:

  1. Call our office or your general dentist.
  2. Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
  3. Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
  4. Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
  5. If there is no way to see the dentist immediately, cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement.
  6. Take a topical pain reliever.

 

The nature of the break or fracture will limit can be done. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy may be the only effective way to retain the tooth.

DISLODGED OR LOOSE TOOTH

When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in your mouth and attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.

 

It’s important to call our office (or your general dentist) immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Dr. Garland will reposition the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy may be required.

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