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What to Do in a Dental Emergency

November 14, 2012
4 years ago

The first response in a dental emergency should always be to call your dentist, but committing these first-response tips to memory will aid you in knowing what to do until you’re able to get to your dentist’s office. And, sometimes, how you handle your tooth or gum emergency can potentially help save a tooth or simplify treatment.

Chip Off the Old Tooth

You bit into a really hard piece of candy, you collided with your son while playing ball, you were accidentally hit in the mouth… there are any number of things that could lead to a chipped tooth. Though it may feel like an emergency – especially appearance-wise – there isn’t really much that can be done about your tooth at that moment. Contact your dentist and set up an appointment as soon as you can. Be prepared to discuss solutions like porcelain veneers or lumineers.

Going, Going, Gone

Sports injuries, auto accidents, or even a fall can be responsible for this knocking a tooth out of place or completely dislodging it from its socket. If the tooth is intact and clean, gently place it back into the socket and hold it there while someone drives you to your dentist’s office. If, however, your tooth will not easily go back into the socket, don’t force it! You could damage the nerve, which is an entirely new complication.

Rinse the tooth carefully, as well as your socket, and then apply a moist, soft rag to reduce any bleeding. Your first instinct may be to wrap the tooth in a napkin or a tissue, but this is a poor choice for the integrity of the tooth and the possibilities of its replacement. Instead, put the tooth in saliva or milk and take it with you to the dentist so your dentist can determine the best course of action. Depending on the particulars of the injury, your dentist may recommend a dental implant.

Gumming It

Excessive bleeding can make anyone panic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an injury is as bad as it seems. Cuts or abrasions on the gums, lips, or mouth tend to bleed a lot. However, you also don’t want to underestimate the seriousness of your injury – it’s a professional’s job to figure out just how critical your cut is. Cover the wound and apply gentle pressure to try to control the bleeding. If it doesn’t subside in a few minutes, then it’s time to head to the emergency room. Depending on the depth or size of the wound, stitches may be required.

Not all mouth, gum, or tooth injuries require cosmetic dentistry or a smile makeover, but only your dentist can truly determine what’s going on in the wake of an accident and lay your options out on the table. Keep the contact information of Dr. Ken Cirka and our Philadelphia dental office at the ready so you can call us immediately in case of a dental emergency.

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