You’re doing all the right things when it comes to proactive dental health. You brush and floss regularly — and correctly! You schedule cleanings religiously, and keep in regular contact with your dental care team.
Still, sometimes things happen beyond our control. Dental emergencies can strike anyone, anywhere.
In the best case scenario an emergency will occur during our opening hours, when you’re within reach of our offices and we can get you fixed up and on your way.
Often times it won’t, however. Call it Murphy’s Law or the law of averages. At these times, what do you do?
Let’s take a look at what could happen, and how to address each situation.
Get yourself to a dentist ASAP! This one is urgent – and painful. The chances of saving a tooth go down rapidly as the minutes pass by. The first ten minutes yield the best chances, and after an hour or two the odds are low that the tooth can be put back and take root.
- Do not touch the roots of the tooth; handle it instead by the crown (top)
- Rinse off the tooth and try to place back into its socket
- If that’s not possible, place the tooth in a container of milk, or in a gauze moistened with saliva
- Call our offices; even if we’re not open, see how the after-hours service can direct you
- If you’re out of the Ottawa area, use Google to find the nearest dentist to you
For situations like this, panic and worry are your enemies. Remain calm (easier said than done, of course), follow the above steps, and use logic to find the best remedy.
Potentially less urgent than a total knockout, this still requires some immediate steps. You’ve got excellent chances of saving this tooth, so keep calm and do the following:
- Rinse with warm water
- Use a cold compress to reduce swelling
- Exercise caution with any of these: avoid hard or sticky foods, cold or hot beverages, etc.
- Do not take aspirin; use acetaminophen instead as needed for pain
- Do not apply Orajel or other painkillers directly to the gums, as it can burn the tissue
If the tooth is chipped and not painful, you can probably wait until normal hours to have it addressed. We may be able to smooth the chip out, or fill the tooth with composite material.
For cracks and fractures, it’s time to seek emergency treatment. Call our offices even after hours, or, if you’re not within reach, find a nearby dentist that’s open for emergencies. Depending on the severity of the damage, the tooth can remedied in a few different ways. The sooner, the better.
Tooth is Pushed Out of Position
For a tooth that is not knocked out or fractured, but is out of position, use very light pressure with your finger to realign the tooth. Do not force the tooth or apply too much pressure. Bite down to prevent excessive motion. Call our offices and we can give further instruction and set up an appointment.
Toothaches run the gamut from general achiness or discomfort to pinpointed pain. Call our offices to discuss further and set up an appointment. The source(s) of the pain could be any number of issues.
Do not use a heating pad or heat of any kind. Heat will only make the pain worse. We may later advise to use a cold compress, depending on the symptoms.
Badly Bitten Tongue or Lip
We’ve all bitten down awkwardly at one point or another. If you are experiencing bleeding, press down on that part of the mouth with a clean cloth. If the lip is swollen, use an ice pack to keep the swelling down. If the bleeding does not stop, go to the Emergency department at a hospital as soon as you can.
Put a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum in the spot where the filling was lost. This will protect the area for a short period of time. Give us a call to book a visit as soon as possible.
Item or Objects Stuck Between Teeth
This probably isn’t an emergency. Still, it’s worth attending to sooner than later, most likely with self care. First use dental floss, very gently and carefully, to remove the object. Do not poke between teeth with a pin or similar sharp object; it can cut your gums or scratch the tooth surface. If this approach is not successful, give us a call.
Other Dental Emergencies and Matters for Attention
It’s best to go with your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, it quite likely isn’t, and of course it’s always better to err on the safe side. Abscesses and infections can become serious medical problems very quickly, so seek treatment for these ASAP. Infections can spread elsewhere in the head and beyond, so don’t put this off or ignore it altogether. Give us a call, or seek the nearest dentist or emergency room.
Prevention & Preparation
What can you do to avoid dental emergencies in the first place?
Routine checkups are the first step. Keeping your mouth and teeth strong, healthy and free from decay is the best prevention.
When playing sports, mouth guards will go a good ways to prevent knocked out teeth as well as chips and fractures.
Worried about what might happen when you travel? Give us a call to schedule a checkup beforehand. That way we can take a look at a number of factors that might lead to emergency dentistry situations, such as loose teeth, crowns or fillings; or decay close to a nerve that could lead to an abscess or other painful issues.
An ounce of prevention? You know what it’s worth!
Meanwhile you can also prepare for what might occur. Pack an emergency dental-care kit, including:
- Our phone numbers (613.596.6623, 800.882.6110)
- Small container with lid
- Acetaminophen (Not aspirin. Aspirin is an anticoagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.)
If you have any questions about how better to prevent dental emergencies or what to do in case you have one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Triadent. Give us a call at 613.596.6623.