Dental Emergency

How to Care for a Dental Emergency

Sep 8 • 2 minute read

When facing a dental emergency, the first thing to do is call the dentist so they can schedule an appointment for you right away. This may mean the same day or the next morning. Until you get to the dental office there are many things you can do at home, as a preventative, or perhaps a supportive measure.  However, if the swelling, bleeding or pain is severe enough, or if the problem has caused shortness of breath, go directly to the emergency room if your dentist is not immediately available. 

Knocked out tooth/crown

If one of your teeth is completely dislodged, there are a few at home remedies. First (after gently rinsing the tooth) try to fit the tooth gently back into the socket. If this isn’t possible (overnight for instance) place the tooth in a glass of milk or an ADA approved tooth preservation solution found (found at your dentist or local over-the-counter pharmacy).  Time can be an important factor, so consider going to urgent care or the emergency room if your dentist doesn’t have an immediate appointment available.

Crowns can fall out much easier than teeth, and there is a process in place that will prevent damage. Before being seen you can clean out the area, dab some petroleum jelly on it and gently try to stick the tooth back in.  This method can work for up to three days while you wait to be seen by a professional.  If a filling is lost, you can plug the hole with some dental cement, or if unavailable, some sugarless gum.

Broken Tooth

Taking care of a chipped or cracked tooth can vary in urgency.  Mostly, rinsing with a salt water solution and applying gauze to any bleeding area will be effective.  Do not apply a topical pain reliever as it can burn.  If possible, save any of the broken pieces of tooth.  Should the pain, swelling or bleeding persist before an appointment can be made, consider a visit to the emergency room.

Toothaches and Abscesses

For most suffering from a toothache, temporary pain relief is the goal until a dental professional can be seen.  Rinsing with water, using floss to dislodge anything that may be stuck, and applying a cold compress if swollen should help you.

Abscesses are serious and should be treated by a dental or medical professional right away.  In the time between, rinse with a salt water solution, and consider the emergency room if you can’t be seen immediately.

Ways to prevent and help with dental emergencies

Your dentist may have products or can recommend products found at the drug store to prepare an at-home dental emergency kit.  In addition to preparation, many dentists recommend wearing a mouth guard during physical activities and to avoid using your teeth on any inedible object. 

If you are in the South Los Angeles area and are experiencing a dental emergency, please call Dr. Faulkner at Crenshaw-Slauson Family Dental immediately

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