Helpful Tips from an Emergency Dentist
While nobody wants to think about it, an emergency can arise at any time, and whether it’s a car wreck or a broken arm, it will upset your daily routine.
This rings true for dental emergencies, too. You may get a call in the middle of your day, telling you that your child slipped on the monkey bars at recess and knocked out a tooth.
Maybe you play in a softball league, and catch an errant fly ball on the chin, causing you to break one of your front teeth. Or you may just wake up in the morning with an unbearable toothache.
To learn more about handling dental emergencies, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee, contact our Mesa, AZ dental office today.
Tip #1 – Prepare an Emergency Kit
While most dental emergencies will require a dentist to repair, they may not occur during the dentist’s operating hours. You can make sure your family can handle a dental emergency at home until the dentist is available by putting together a dental emergency kit.
Try to get as many of these items together as possible, and store them in a location everyone can remember. When putting together your emergency kit, try to include the following:
- Dental Floss – If you have a toothache, sometimes using a piece of floss to remove particles between the teeth can provide relief. If you get something wedged between your teeth, you can try removing it with a piece of dental floss, but do not try to force it out. If you do not have floss available, let the dentist remove the particles between your teeth. Never use sharp objects in lieu of dental floss, as you may scratch the surface of the tooth or injure your gums.
- Gauze – If you suffer a dental injury that involves bleeding, biting down on a piece of gauze will help the blood clot.
- Cold Compress – Keep some sort of cold compress available, preferably in the freezer. Applying a cold compress helps keep swelling down after an injury.
- Small Container – If you break or lose a tooth, you will need to save any pieces and bring them to Dr. Lee. Keeping a lost tooth in a small sealed container will help keep it viable for a possible return to your mouth.
- Tooth Preservation Product – Should you have a lost tooth saved in a container, a tooth preservation product will help keep it alive. The American Dental Association has approved Save-A-Tooth® as an emergency preservation solution. This product can keep a tooth viable for up to 24 hours. If you do not have the solution, use milk or salt water.
- Dental Adhesive – Have a dental adhesive available to temporarily replace crowns that fall out. You can use a denture adhesive or a temporary cement specifically for repairing loose crowns.
- Sugarless Gum – While this may seem like a strange thing to have on hand in a dental emergency, sugarless gum can come in quite handy. If you lose a filling, the cavity is left open to bacteria. Sticking a piece of sugarless gum in the cavity will protect it, while not causing additional pain.
Tip #2 – Call Us Immediately!
Even if you are not a patient of ours, we encourage you to call our office right away when you have a dental emergency. Dr. Lee knows that time means everything in an emergency, and he considers emergency patients a top priority.
In fact, we build time into the schedule each day to allow patients with dental emergencies to come in for treatment right away. Desert Family Dental even offers free emergency exams and x-rays. Dr. Lee can assist you in all kinds of dental emergencies including, cracked, broken, or lost teeth, severe tooth pain or sensitivity, objects stuck between the teeth, and trauma to the mouth and gums.
Over the years, he has found that in many cases, he can resolve the emergency and ease your pain with a simple, quick procedure. Call us immediately when a dental emergency happens, so we can give you instructions on how to handle the emergency until you can get to our office.
Tip #3 – Know How to Handle an Emergency at Home
Dental emergencies can happen at any time, including outside our office operating hours. For most injuries, you can take steps at home to take care of the injury until you can get to our office. The following are a few examples:
- Toothache – If you have a toothache, you should first thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use a piece of dental floss to gently remove any food lodged between the teeth, which may help alleviate the pain. If you experience swelling, you can use a cold compress on the outside of the mouth.
- Object Caught Between the Teeth – Try using dental floss to carefully remove objects wedged between your teeth. If you cannot easily remove the object, do not try to force it out. Instead, come see us as soon as possible and let the doctor remove it.
- Lost Crown – If you have a crown fall off, you can try to temporarily replace it on the tooth. Apply some temporary dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste to the inside of the crown and slip it over the tooth. This should hold the crown in place until you can get to our office.
- Lost filling – If you lose a filling and cannot get to our office right away, you can stick a piece of sugarless gum in the cavity. This will help protect the cavity from infection. Do not use a gum with sugar in it, as it will cause pain.
- Chipped or Broken Teeth – Rinse your mouth with warm water, then rinse any pieces of the tooth you can find and place them in a small container for the doctor. If you experience any bleeding, applying a piece of gauze should stop it. Use a cold compress on the outside of the mouth to control swelling.
- Knocked Out Tooth – If you have an accident that knocks out one of your teeth, you should immediately try to find the tooth. Pick the tooth up by its crown and rinse the root with warm water without scrubbing or removing any tissue. You can try to put the tooth back in the socket, but do not force it. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place it in a small container with milk, water with a bit of salt, or a tooth preservation product that has the ADA seal of approval, such as Save-A-Tooth®. Call our office immediately, and try to get here as soon as possible, as we have the best chance of saving your tooth if we can get to it within one hour of it coming out.
Tip #4 – Handling Serious Dental Emergencies
If your emergency involves someone experiencing severe trauma or an injury with bleeding that will not stop, go to the emergency room and get help immediately. If you cannot get to the emergency room on your own, call 911.
Call Us for an Appointment
Hopefully, these tips will help you feel prepared, should a dental emergency arise.If you would like to learn more about how to handle dental emergencies, or if you have an emergency during our regular business hours, call our Mesa, AZ dental office right away, and we will fit you into the schedule as quickly as possible.