While we certainly hope that a dental emergency never occurs for our patients, the truth is that life is unpredictable and sometimes unexpected things can happen. Just as with everything else in life, having proper information is key when these types of events occur. To ensure that our patients are best prepared to handle these occasions, we’re touching on a few of the basics surrounding dental emergencies.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
The most basic definition of a dental emergency is any dental problem that requires immediate treatment to stop bleeding, alleviate severe pain, or help prevent the permanent loss of the tooth.
In dental emergencies it’s important that you get in to see a dentist as soon as possible. At Inland Family Dentistry we always have a dentist on call, and after hours you can call our office at 509-525-7250 and select option 2 to leave a message and have one of our doctors return your call.
What Types of Events Might be Classified as Dental Emergencies
Knocked Out Tooth –
in the event that your adult permanent tooth is knocked out you want to do the best you can to keep the tooth moist and prevent it from drying out. Because of the number of bacteria that can be transmitted from the tooth to your mouth after it’s been knocked out we recommend that you not try to replace the tooth yourself. The best solution is to get to your dentist as soon as possible.
Cracked Tooth –
In the event that you chip or crack your tooth, it’s recommended that you rinse the area with warm water to clean it. Then keep cold compresses on the area to help reduce swelling while you wait to see your dentist.
Broken Jaw –
If you believe that your jaw is broken, apply cold compresses to the area and get to your dentist or the emergency room.
If you’re experiencing severe tooth pain, first try rinsing the area with warm water to clean the area. Then floss and brush your teeth to try and remove any particles of food that may be stuck and causing discomfort. If the pain is overly severe or persists for a length of time we recommend making an appointment with your dentist. They’ll be able to help resolve the issue and identify if there is a more severe problem.
Loss of a Filling or Crown –
Filling and crowns aren’t uncommon in the dental world, and they can occasionally fall out. If this occurs it’s important that you get in to see your dentist in a timely manner to ensure that additional tooth decay or root damage does not occur.
Ways to Help Prevent an Emergency
While it’s true that accidents happen, there are precautions that can be taken to help prevent dental emergencies from happening. First, it’s recommended that when playing contact sports both children and adults wear a mouth guard to help protect the teeth and jaw. Second, we recommend that you avoid chewing on hard foods such as ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy which can crack or chip your teeth. Finally, keeping up a good oral hygiene routine is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.