How To Handle A Dental Emergency


If you are stuck in a medical emergency and the situation involves a critical issue revolving around your oral cavity then technically you have a dental emergency. So what qualifies as an emergency situation as far as your teeth and mouth are concerned?

Knocked out tooth or teeth, open lacerations of lips, gums or cheeks, and even loosened teeth or tooth fractures, all constitute into what we can refer to as a Dental Emergency. If you are suffering from such situations, then it is advised that your promptly give your dentist a visit. But in due time, till you get proper dental care, here are some tips on how to handle a dental emergency.

When the tooth is knocked out

  • Calling a doctor or a dentist is of time’s essence and it should be your first priority to get an emergency appointment.
  • Reattachment of the tooth is possible in some cases, so do take proper care of your knocked out tooth. Do not hold it by the root (the underside of the tooth which is below the gum) as it can damage the cells during the reattachment process.
  • Clean the tooth in clear tap water so it is not dirty. But scrubbing should be avoided as it can further damage the tooth.
  • Gently place the clean tooth in the vacated socket so it does not remain dry. If that is not possible, wrap the tooth in clean cloth or gauze and store in a box filled with milk or saliva.

When the tooth is pushed out of position

  • Realignment of tooth should be attempted with very little amount of pressure with fingers but no extra force should be applied on it so it gets knocked out.
  • To prevent the tooth from getting out of place too much, bite down the tooth to secure its position.

When the tooth is fractured

  • Quickly rinse your mouth with warm water to prevent any germs percolating.
  • To reduce the swelling and pain use an ice pack.
  • Use ibuprofen or similar painkillers suggested by the chemist store.
  • To proceed for further treatment on the pain as fractured tooth has nerve endings which results in hypersensitivity, you should visit to an endodontist to check the damage done.

Here is a further detailed reading on tooth fractures and its different types depending on the damage. MGA Dental emergency services Brisbane & Gold Coast describes tooth fractures in the following three types:

Minor fracture:When the fracture is very small and only a minute part of the enamel is scratched away. It can be left alone or can be smoothened by the dentist and in either case proper care should be taken.

Moderate fracture:When the damage extends to the dentin and/or pulp (nerve and the gum). If the pulp is not damaged during the fracture the tooth can be restored with a completely new permanent crown otherwise further surgery may be required to repair the pulp to support the new tooth.

Severe fracture:Often the tooth is damaged too much with no possible chance of tooth regrowth or replacement but a fake tooth placement.

When the epithelial tissue is injured

Epithelial tissue, the thin and delicate layer of skin which is also present in the mouth can suffer from minor cuts or lacerations. If such incidents happen, clean the wound by rinsing with warm water.

However, if the injury is too serious like puncture on cheek or tongue bite, the emergency medical services should be called immediately for necessary care.

For first aid purposes, gauze should be placed to apply pressure on the wound so bleeding can stop.

Be Prepared for Contingency

An emergency dental-care kit should be ready with the first aid for the dental emergencies, including:

  • Gauze
  • Clean handkerchief
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dentist’s phone number
  • Clean storage containers with lid
  • Ibuprofen painkillers (not aspirin as it is an anticoagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency)
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