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patient with a dental emergency

Dealing With A Dental Emergency

Just like any other emergency situation, dental emergencies often happen without warning. It’s important that you know how to respond in the middle of an emergency so that you can use every minute effectively. Knowing who to call and what to do after a dental emergency occurs is one of the best things you can do. Here is some of our best advice for dealing with a dental emergency.

What Is A Dental Emergency

According to the American Dental Association, dental emergencies are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding or to alleviate severe pain or infection. Examples of dental emergencies include:

  • Pericoronitis or inflammation of the soft tissue associated with a partially erupted tooth.
  • Dry socket after a tooth extraction.
  • Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling.
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain.
  • Dental trauma resulting in a tooth moving and/or coming out of its socket.

What To Do In An Emergency Situation

Every emergency is different, and therefore will require different types of care. Here are some examples of emergency situations and some tips for taking care of them:

  • Toothaches: When it comes to toothaches, remember that pain is a sign that something is wrong. The longer you wait, the more difficult, and potentially expensive, the solution. Also, if you are experiencing any facial swelling, we recommend using a cold compress and taking some acetaminophen to temporarily relieve your pain.
  • Cut Tongue, Lip, or Cheek: For the bleeding, you should apply pressure with sterile gauze. This will decrease the chances of infection and complications. Also, we recommend that you use your better judgement to assess if the cut looks significant and if the bleeding does not seem to be subsiding. If this is the case, you should contact an emergency room.
  • Broken, Cracked, or Chipped Tooth: If you are not sure what to do for a broken tooth, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. First, you should rinse the area with warm water. Next, place a cold compress over the site of the injury if you notice swelling. Lastly, be sure to keep the tooth very clean and only eat soft foods. Call the office ASAP so we can examine the tooth and surrounding tissues and recommend the best option to fix the fracture.
  • Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: Recover the tooth and hold it by the crown, not the root. Then, rinse it, but be sure no to over-clean or over-handle the tooth. Hold the tooth in place using a piece of gauze or cloth and try to place it back in your mouth. If reinsertion is impossible, carry the tooth in a cup of milk or water. The most important thing is that you stop the bleeding. Don’t remove any attached tissues, as it helps re-secure the tooth!
  • Abscess: An abscess can be a serious infection that typically occurs on the gums next to the teeth. Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief. If left alone, an abscess can spread throughout your body and cause life-threatening problems. Visit us as soon as possible if you discover any pain or swelling in the gums so we can provide the proper treatment.

We also recommend that you save our phone number in your contacts to expedite your care. Give us a call during any emergency situation and we can help you decide if you need to come into our office or go to an emergency room. This way, you can spend less time worrying and more time saving your smile! Our phone number is 615-595-6111.

How To Avoid Dental Emergencies

Accidents are unplanned, and therefore hard to prepare for. The best way to avoid a dental emergency is to be preventative. Schedule regular dental exams every six months and continue a regimen of good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, floss, and avoid foods that may do damage to your teeth!

Dr. Abrams and the Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry team want to make sure that you are prepared for any kind of dental emergency. If you have any questions or concerns about your smile, please contact us at 615-595-6111 or fill out our contact form.