Top 10 Dental Emergencies and What to Do About Them
Dental emergencies require prompt professional treatment to avoid the risk of irreparable damage.
You can help to avoid dental emergencies by:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene and getting regular dental check-ups.
- Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports.
- Wearing seat belts in a car.
However, if you do fall victim of a dental health crisis, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible, although there are certain steps you can take to temporarily ease the discomfort. Here, we’ll look at the 10 most common dental emergencies, and what you can do about them.
- Sudden Toothache
Call your dentist and explain the symptoms. Take an over-the-counter painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Rinse your mouth with warm water and hold an ice pack to your face at the affected area. Don’t use a hot-water bottle or other source of heat: this will make things worse. You could also try to floss around the tooth gently to dislodge any food debris that may have accumulated.
- Tooth is Knocked Out
Keep the tooth. If you can’t put it back in place (without forcing it), put it in a small container of milk, or a cup of water with a pinch of salt. The best chance of saving your tooth is if it’s reinserted by a dentist within one hour.
- Something Gets Stuck Between Your Teeth
When something gets lodged between your teeth, it can result in infection. Firstly, use floss to try to remove the object. Don’t use a sharp object to try to prise the object out: this can damage your teeth and gums.
- Broken or Chipped Tooth
Save any pieces. Rinse your mouth with warm water. Put a cold compress on the outside of the mouth, and apply gauze to any bleeding.
- Filling Falls Out
As a temporary measure, use sugarless gum to fill the cavity or use an over-the-counter dental adhesive.
- Crown Falls Out
Retrieve the crown to take to your dentist. If the tooth is painful, apply a small amount of clove oil to the affected area. Try to put the crown back in place, using toothpaste to coat the inner surface to act as an adhesive. Never use super glue.
- Broken Braces
If a wire breaks or protrudes from a brace, try pushing it into a more comfortable position with the rubber end of a pencil. If you can’t relocate it, put dental wax or a piece of gauze over the end. Don’t cut the wire – you could swallow it.
- Loose Braces
Use dental wax to temporarily re-attach loose braces. Alternatively, apply the wax over the braces to act as a cushion. If the problem is a loose band, save it for your dentist to re-cement or replace.
An abscess is a serious issue that affects the root of a tooth or between the gums and teeth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body. There’s little you can do other that see a dentist immediately.
- Dislodged Tooth
Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth and take over-the-counter pain relief.