What Is a Dental Emergency, and What Do I Do Now?

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone–kids and adults alike. Today, we’re going to chat about the basics behind dental emergencies, including what constitutes this type of emergency and when you should contact an emergency dentist.

Let’s get started.

Ask an Emergency Dentist: What is a dental emergency, and what do I do now?

A dental emergency is when you have something happen to your teeth that could put your health or safety at risk. If this happens to you, it is vital to contact an emergency dentist right away.

Common Dental Emergencies

There are many scenarios when you should see an emergency dentist. These include but are not limited to:

Knocked-Out Tooth

Let’s say you are tackled in the middle of a football game, and you lose a tooth as a result. It happens sometimes, but it’s important to note that you have a max of one hour to get to the dentist for emergency treatment.

First, you’ll want to grab the tooth by the crown. (Never touch the root.) If you can put it back in the socket, that’s your best option. However, you can also place it in a glass of milk or inside of your cheek.

Next, call your emergency dentist right away so that we know you’re on your way. It can take eight weeks for this type of injury to heal, and it’s important to be seen as soon as possible to ensure the tooth can be safely put back in.

Jaw Trauma

Many things can cause jaw trauma, including contact sports, falls, or even car accidents. You could end up with a broken, dislocated, or fractured jaw, which, yes, requires you to see an emergency dentist.

Assuming that your injury is not too serious, it will likely heal on its own, but if it is serious, you may need surgery. Either way, however, you should consult with a medical professional and dentist to determine the route of care needed.

If you experience jaw trauma, try to avoid any hard-to-chew foods, and instead stick to soft varieties. Jaw injuries are usually treated as an emergency and should always constitute a call to your dentist.

Head Trauma

Head trauma can come with a bump on the head, concussion, skull fracture, hematoma, bruise, and many other symptoms, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

It can cause confusion, swelling, headache, dizziness, and many other symptoms, but it can be treated, fortunately.

If you become unconscious from a hit to the head, you should always seek medical care to confirm how severe the injury is. Furthermore, you should see an emergency dentist right away to make sure the trauma did not hurt your teeth.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Maybe you were eating a JOLLY RANCHER, and all of a sudden, you heard a sound coming from your mouth, signifying a broken or chipped tooth.

Typically, a broken tooth is nothing to stress too much over unless there is an excessive amount of the tooth broken off, but make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get it fixed. Depending on the severity of the break, you may need as little as one dental visit to fix it.

This happens often, but it’s usually not time-sensitive. In any case, it is preferred that you get treatment as soon as possible to prevent and minimize infections. (Also, if you’re uncomfortable after chipping or breaking a tooth, you can try over-the-counter pain medication.)

Lost Filling or Crown

Fillings and crowns are usually put in due to a cavity or other type of damage. If you lose the filling or crown, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible to fix it, as it can be very painful and expose the inner parts of your teeth.

If the crown is lost, it is best to replace it promptly. However, in the meantime, what you can do is put some clove oil on the area with a cotton swab to help the pain become more manageable.

When we’re done fixing your tooth, we may remove any excess decay. Then, we will reapply the crown or filling as needed. (Did you lose a filling or crown? Contact West Richland Family Dental for emergency dental care.)

Dental First Aid

Listed above are some of the common injuries that result in needing dental first aid. It is usually recommended to keep a type of dental first aid kit handy in case of emergency.

Try to keep a washcloth, ice pack, and Tylenol nearby in case they are needed to temporarily treat you until you receive medical attention.

Usually, when you have a mouth injury, it is recommended to wash your mouth with water to help prevent the injured area from becoming infected.

When you have a dental emergency, it is important to receive medical attention from a healthcare provider as soon as possible to help prevent further injury and infection.

When to Go to the Emergency Room

  • Excessive bleeding or pain
  • Extreme inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty problem solving, writing, or reading
  • Slurred speech
  • Change in eyesight
  • Weakness

Call an emergency dentist.

If you’re facing a dental emergency, stay calm, and contact an emergency dentist right away. Most dental emergencies should be treated within an hour or two, so don’t wait too long to schedule your appointment.

Need emergency dental care? West Richland Family Dental can help. Contact our office now.

Posted in