Do you know what to do if you wake up in the middle of the night with an unrelenting toothache or your child bursts through the front door with a chipped tooth? Sudden tooth pain or injury can be painful and stressful, so it’s important to know what to do and who to call in the event of a dental emergency. Vacendak Dentistry is here to help with a list of common dental emergencies and how they should be handled:
A knocked-out tooth is an emergency that requires immediate attention. First, locate the tooth if possible and hold it by the crown, not the roots. For adult teeth, rinse the tooth (or lick clean if no water is available) and try to insert it back into the gums, biting on a handkerchief to hold it in place. Baby teeth should not be reinserted in the child’s mouth. If reinsertion is not possible, place the tooth in milk. Call your dentist immediately, no matter what time of day. The dentist will either direct you to come to the office or will give you instructions to seek urgent dental care. The sooner the tooth is reimplanted the more likely it will be to take root again.
A chipped tooth isn’t as severe as a knocked-out tooth but can still be worrisome. An exposed tooth is more prone to infection and further damage, so call your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as you realize the tooth is chipped. If the tooth is painful, take over-the-counter medication and avoid eating or drinking. Should the tooth have a jagged edge, use chewing gum to cover it to prevent cutting your tongue or mouth.
There are varying degrees of toothaches that can occur. Some toothaches are due to gum irritation and may go away on their own in a few days. A toothache that lasts longer than a few days is more concerning and should be checked by a dentist to determine the underlying cause. If you experience a toothache that causes severe pain and is accompanied by fever or chills, seek immediate help, as this may be a sign of infection.
An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection that forms at the root of a tooth. This can cause irritation and swelling of the gums, which can be painful. Call your dentist to schedule an appointment. He or she will drain assess abscess and assess the tooth. A root canal may be performed to save the tooth, but in some cases, the tooth will need to be pulled to fully remove the abscess. Abscesses must be treated to prevent the spread of infection throughout the body.
Regular dental check-ups allow dentists to address any potential problems before they become an issue. In addition, if you are embarking on an extended trip, you may also want to schedule an appointment so that the dentist can give your teeth a clean bill of health before your travels. To schedule an appointment with Vacendak Dentistry, call us at (757) 609-3510 or request one online.