January 23, 2017
You’re grateful for a healthy smile, but will your teeth and gums always look and feel their best? Dental emergencies such as knocked-out teeth lost fillings or throbbing toothaches come on quickly. If one of these situations happens to you or a loved one, would you know what to do?
Dr. Tyler Schaffeld, dentist in Enterprise, tells his patients what to do when urgent dental problems arise and how to avoid them. Your best oral health depends on being prepared.
What Kind Of Dental Emergencies Are There?
One of the most common dental emergencies is the knocked-out tooth. Very common with children, sports and motor vehicle accidents, a knocked-out tooth is a painful, scary experience. However, as with most dental emergencies, quick action saves a lot of pain and even the tooth itself. In fact, if a knocked-out tooth is replaced and splinted within an hour of injury, it is likely to regain health, function and provide many years of healthy chewing and smiling.
So, if you lose a tooth suddenly, take these steps:
- Grasp it by the crown.
- Rinse it in warm water.
- Put it back in the empty tooth socket, and hold it there.
- Contact Dr. Schaffeld for further advice and a same day appointment.
If you cannot put the tooth in the socket yourself, place it in a cup of milk. Then, take it to your emergency dentist in Enterprise.
What Should I Do If I Break A Filling, Crown, Or Veneer?
Less serious, but still important, situations are lost restorations (fillings, crowns, veneers) or broken orthodontic appliances. Save the pieces, and contact Dr. Schaffeld for advice. Cover jagged tooth edges or wires with orthodontic wax.
What If I Have A Toothache?
Finally, many toothaches progress to emergencies. Pain, drainage, bad breath and swelling usually are signs of oral abscess, or infection. See Dr. Schaffeld at the first sign of dental pain to avoid tooth loss or compromise of your airway.
What Should I Do If I Broke or Dislocated My Jaw?
Another frequent dental emergency is the broken or dislocated jaw. Similar in urgency to profuse oral bleeding, this emergency requires transport to the nearest hospital ER as soon as possible.
What Dental First Aid Supplies Should I Have on Hand?
Most families keep first aid supplies at home–Band-Aids, an elastic bandage, antibiotic ointment and the like. Your dentist recommends that you keep some emergency dental supplies readily available, too. That way if an urgent situation arises, you are better prepared to deal with it. And, of course, never delay in calling Dr. Schaffeld’s office for immediate advice.
Here’s what to have on hand:
- Sterile 4×4 gauze pads to apply direct pressure and quell bleeding
- Orthodontic wax to cover sharp tooth edges or dislodged braces
- Exam gloves and a small flashlight to see inside the mouth
- Alcohol wipes to cleanse lacerations
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for toothache pain
- Disposable ice packs to reduce swelling
- Dental floss
How Can I Prevent Emergencies?
Here are the best ways to keep urgent dental problems from happening:
- Floss daily and brush twice a day
- Get six-month exams and cleanings
- Wear mouthguards for TMJ dysfunction (jaw pain), sports or bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Drink water to keep hydrated and to wash tooth surfaces and gums
- Eat high-fiber, high-calcium and low carbohydrate diets
If you have a sudden dental problem, or are just worried about a tooth, please don’t delay.
Contact Tyler Schaffeld DMD and his staff right away. We want you happy, healthy and smiling!
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