What is a Dental Emergency?
If you’re suffering from any kind of dental pain or other oral health concern, you need to get help right away. Whether your trouble is caused by a toothache, broken tooth, a missing tooth, or some other concern, it is always best to seek immediate treatment. If you are unsure whether to call your doctor, head to the emergency room, or just wait it out, we suggest using this simple guideline:
Go to the emergency room: Critical pain (Unbearable pain, needs to be treated without delay.)
Call us immediately (24/7): Urgent (It hurts and you can’t wait until tomorrow)
Call Us the Next Business Day: Non-urgent (It hurts but you can deal with it)
Dealing with a dental emergency can be both frightening and overwhelming. To help you cope with any situation you may find yourself in, we have some helpful tips:
- Severe swelling
- High fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Deep cuts on lips
- Reaction to medication resulting in hives, swelling of mouth lips or throat
- Broken tooth /teeth
- Toothache preventing sleep
- Minor to moderate swelling
- Moderate to severe pain
- Tooth knocked out
- Tooth misplaced or knocked out of position
- Deep cuts on gums
- Jaw locked open
- Severe TMJ pain
- Missing filling
- Cracked or broken crown
- Lost, loose or broken temporary crown
- Debris trapped between teeth or gums
- Broken denture/partial denture
- Loose orthodontic band, bracket, expander, lip bumper or uncomfortable wire
Below are some tips for helping to manage dental emergencies:
- Broken Jaw – A broken jaw is a serious condition and should be treated immediately. Call our office immediately or get to a hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime, use a cold compress to help keep the swelling down. A broken jaw is most often caused by a severe blow to the head, which can be dangerous for a number of reasons.
- Tooth Sensitivity – If you find hot and cold sensations on your tooth painful, especially if you have recently undergone dental work, please contact our office. We will work with you to determine the cause and determine the best way to treat it.
- Chipped, Fractured or Broken Teeth – Reduce pain and swelling in the area with a cold compress. If possible, find the piece that has broken off and rinse it with clean, warm water. Get in touch with our office so that the broken tooth can be restored.
- Knocked Out Tooth – A knocked out tooth needs immediate care. Call us as soon as possible for the best chance of saving the tooth. Rinse any dirt off the tooth, carefully avoiding touching the root of the tooth. Try to place it back into its socket and hold it in place with a clean cloth. If you cannot do this, either place it in milk (not water!) or inside your mouth between the cheek and the gums. There is a very narrow window of time to save the tooth, so call us immediately to get prompt care.
- Bitten Tongue and/or Lip – A bite that is deep enough to bleed should be cleaned gently with water. You may want to use a cold compress to keep down swelling and use an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce the pain.
- Something Caught in Teeth – Use floss to try to dislodge the item. Do not use other implements to try to remove it, as this item could also get stuck, slip, or break, causing further damage. If you cannot remove the item on your own, call our office.
- Tooth Pain – If you are experiencing a toothache, try rinsing your mouth with warm water. Alternatively, you can apply a cold compress. In either case, over-the-counter pain relievers can help keep you comfortable until we can see you in our office.
- Loose Teeth – If it is a child’s tooth, you may attempt to remove it. If it is a permanent or “adult” tooth, contact us as soon as possible to save that tooth.