Tag Archives: dental emergency

How to Handle Dental Emergencies

According to the American Dental Association, 2 million people visit the emergency room each year for dental emergencies. The problem with this is that most emergency rooms don’t have dentists to provide treatment, and most physicians aren’t able to provide dental care. Believe it or not, it is illegal for anyone other than a dentist to pull a tooth or fill a cavity, so they are only able to prescribe antibiotics or painkillers – which are only a temporary solution. 

If you are experiencing severe pain or swelling that spreads into your face and eyes or have jaw issues, then definitely head to the ER, otherwise here are some ways to deal with dental emergencies until you can get to your dentist or an emergency dentist.

  • Toothache

Toothaches are fairly common. Most dentists would advise against heading to the ER for a toothache unless your pain is unbearable. You should brush and floss your tooth to get rid of any excess food that could be causing the irritation and then rinse with warm water. You should then set up an appointment with your dentist, so they can get to the bottom of what’s causing your pain and discuss further steps. 

  • Knocked-Out Tooth

If your tooth is knocked out it’s important to save the tooth. When handling the tooth, try not to touch the root and clean it off. Next, try to put it back in the socket until you can get to your dentist. If you can’t keep it in the socket, put it in milk or in your mouth next to your teeth to keep it moist until you arrive at the dentist.

  • Facial Trauma

Trauma to the face can also cause dental injuries. If you experience facial trauma, you should ice the area to keep swelling down. A trip to the ER may be necessary before seeing your dentist to ensure that no bones are broken and you didn’t experience any other severe injuries. After taking care of other injuries caused by the trauma, consult your dentist to see if any further steps for your teeth are required.

The best way to prepare for a dental emergency is to try to prevent them if possible. Set an appointment to see your dentist every six months to avoid cavities, wear a mouthguard during sports, avoid chewing ice or other hard foods, and opening things with your teeth. If you do experience a dental emergency, stay calm and contact us so we can be there for you every step of the way.

How to Handle a Dental Emergency While on Vacation

Do you have plans to travel this December? Many people trek across the country or even to other parts of the world to celebrate the holiday season. Something that you probably don’t want to deal with is a dental emergency while traveling. Unfortunately, these things do happen from time to time. Here are some tips on managing a toothache, broken filling, or swelling while you are away from home (and from your dentist).

You Wake Up With a Toothache

First, don’t panic. Try to floss around the area; sometimes a popcorn kernel or some other type of food debris gets caught up under the gum and can cause a toothache. Next, swish with warm salt water.

If the tooth is still throbbing, take the over-the-counter pain reliever of your choice; for many people, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) works best. If you can’t take that safely, take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Follow the directions on the bottle.

No relief? In this case, you might want to find a local dentist to take a look. You don’t want your vacation ruined by a toothache, so ask your relatives or friends if they have someone to recommend. Your dental insurance company might be able to help, too.

You Break a Filling

If you crunch down on a hard piece of food and you crack a filling or a filling falls out, it might not be an emergency. Clean out the tooth and evaluate the situation. Are any pieces moving and pinching your gums? Are you in pain? (If so, follow the advice above.) If the answer to both of these is no, you’ll want to head to the dental aisle of your nearest pharmacy and pick up temporary filling material. Use it as directed and make an appointment to be seen once you get home. Keep in mind that the filling material is temporary; it won’t last longer than a few days and might need to be replaced if you’ll be gone longer than that.

Your Jaw Is Swollen

A swollen jaw caused by a dental abscess can turn bad very quickly, particularly if it’s accompanied by a fever or a flu-like feeling. In this case, you need to be seen. See if there is a dentist available. If not, try a walk-in clinic or urgent care. As a last resort, go to the emergency room. In this situation, it’s likely that you’ll need an antibiotic to prevent the prescription from spreading, so don’t wait.

If you have any type of dental emergency while traveling, call our office and make an appointment to be seen as soon as feasible after you return. Don’t let a temporary solution turn into a permanent one; any toothache that’s not remedied by flossing, a broken filling, or a dental infection needs to be addressed.