Regular dental care helps prevent inconvenient dental emergencies; however, dental emergencies can and do occur. Listed here are some of the more common dental emergencies and what you can do until you can be evaluated by a Central Dental emergency on-call dentist. A good rule of thumb; if it hurts, do not wait to make an appointment. We will be happy to see you as soon as possible.
- Tooth Knocked Out – If you have a knocked out tooth call us immediately for urgent dental care because there is a short window of time in which teeth can be successfully replanted. The chances of successfully saving a tooth are much higher when the tooth can be returned to the socket within one hour after the injury. One of our skillful doctors or compassionate staff will return your call to make appropriate arrangements for your care. Here are some immediate steps you can take in the meantime:
- Avoid touching the root of the tooth, and rinse it gently with water to remove dirt.
- Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue that may still be attached.
- If you can, put the clean tooth back into the socket from where it came to keep it moist. This helps maintain the vitality of the tooth.
- If your mouth is injured, bloody, or too painful to put the tooth back in its place, wrap it in clean gauze or cloth that has been soaked with either saliva from your mouth or milk. You may also place it in a cup of milk. If milk is not available, you can place the tooth in a cup of water with a pinch of salt. The goal is to prevent the tooth from drying out.
- Chipped or Broken Teeth – Teeth with large fillings can easily break or fracture. Call us as soon as possible to have the tooth evaluated and restored. If the broken tooth is not treated, more serious problems can develop. Broken teeth may or may not be sensitive to air and temperature changes. Sensitivity and pain are not necessarily an indication of how badly the tooth is damaged and left unchecked the treatment can become much more extensive and costly.
- Dislocated Jaw or Locked Jaw – A dislocated or locked jaw can cause significant pain and anxiety. Do not try to force the jaw back into the proper position, pry it open or force it shut in an attempt to fix the problem yourself. Relocating the jaw to the appropriate position and unlocking the jaw should only be performed by a highly trained and experienced professional. The doctors and staff at Central Dental treat these situations regularly and are well versed in the course of care necessary to alleviate your pain, move your jaw back to the correct position and provide stabilization as healing occurs. If you are in need of a TMJ dentist or doctor for a jaw injury, call Central Dental immediately. A qualified doctor, or caring member of our staff, will return your call to coordinate your care.
- Severe Toothache/Sensitive Teeth – You may be experiencing pain in your tooth for a variety of reasons, including a cracked tooth, abscess, untreated decay or cavities, broken or lost fillings, broken or lost crowns, impacted wisdom teeth, and acute sinusitis. No matter the cause you need to see a Central Dental dentist as soon as possible for evaluation. Over the counter pain relief medication can temporarily relieve the pain; however, you should never put it directly on the gum tissue or tooth. Slight pain, if left untreated, can progress into facial or oral swelling and severe pain. The dentists at Central Dental can often eliminate tooth pain with endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy. People have often heard frightening stories about root canal treatment, but with modern techniques, it can be relatively painless.
- Object Stuck Between Teeth – If you cannot gently & easily remove the object with dental floss, give our office a call to that we may assist you. Do not use pointed or sharp items to force the object from between your teeth as this may cause additional damage to the teeth.
- Bitten or Cut Cheek, Lip or Tongue – Apply gentle, yet firm pressure, to the area with a clean cloth, dampened tea bag or sterile gauze, if available. Tea bags offer added benefit as the tannic acid helps to constrict blood vessels or lessen bleeding. Ice may be applied to any bruised or swollen areas. Try to avoid excessive physical activity, raised tempers, and sitting upright as they all increase blood flow to the head. If bleeding does not stop after 15 to 30 minutes of pressure call our office immediately or seek further assistance from your local emergency room.
- Swollen Gums – Swollen gum tissue is often a sign of infection which could be caused by nerve dying within the tooth or periodontal (gum) disease. You may or may not experience pain with the swelling. Either way, it needs attention relatively quickly.
It is important that you see us as soon as possible if you are having any of these dental issues. We have live operators who answer our phone lines after-hours and who are able contact our doctors or staff in the event of an emergency. During normal business hours, we reserve time on our schedule in order to treat emergencies, but we need to know about them before you come into our office so we can prioritize our patients’ needs.