Dental emergencies are no joke. They are usually painful, likely to lead to a lost tooth if not treated in a timely fashion, and in the worst of cases, potentially life-threatening. If you happen to be near a dentist, you should be OK, but if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a dental emergency whilst on vacation, it is a tricky situation. Just in case this happens to you or one of your children, here are some tips to help you get through this difficult time.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies are any injury to the mouth area. Oral injuries often cause teeth to be knocked out or damaged in a serious way. They can also affect the gums and tissue inside the mouth, which is just as painful. Whatever the type of injury, in most cases it will need to be treated by a dentist.
Common Causes of Dental Emergencies
Teeth get knocked out for all kinds of reasons. Kids can have accidents in the playground: they might fall off a swing set or stumble going down some stairs and bust a tooth. Adults can easily end up in the same boat. Sudden, severe toothache is also classed as a dental emergency, because serious pain is often caused by a tooth abscess, and if the abscess isn’t fixed, the infection will spread.
What to Do When a Tooth is Loose or Broken
Loose teeth are at high risk of falling out, so be very careful not to dislodge the tooth. Push it gently back into place and don’t eat anything until you have seen your dentist. Broken teeth should also be handled carefully. Again, avoid food and if the tooth is bleeding, rinse with a warm solution of salt water.
Fractured teeth can often be repaired. Minor fractures to less prominent teeth won’t need much treatment, but major fractures may require a permanent crown. If the root has been damaged, the tooth could die and will need to be extracted, but your dentist will be able to advise you if this is the case.
What to Do When a Tooth is Knocked Out
There is a very short window of opportunity to save a tooth that has been knocked out. If you can find the tooth, handle it very carefully and avoid touching the root. Using clean water, rinse any dirt off, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth and place it in a cup of milk. This will keep the tissues alive until your dentist can reattach it.
Coping with Tooth Abscesses
Tooth abscesses are extremely painful. Since you won’t be able to ignore the pain, all you can do is take some over the counter painkillers and make an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible. Your oral surgeon NYC will be able to prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection and you should notice an improvement within a few days.
Don’t delay in seeking treatment if you or your child has a serious dental problem, or you could end up losing a tooth.