What to Do in a Dental Emergency


Emergencies happen all the time and a dental emergency is no exception. You only have one set of teeth, so you need to take care of them as best as you can. Sometimes problems can’t be avoided. Some patients may find themselves with toothaches, broken or fractured teeth, a chipped tooth, unexplainable pain, knocked-out teeth (with injuries and accidents) and more. Sports and other contact activities can increase your risk for a dental emergency. Keeping your mouth healthy is the best way to keep it strong. However, when an emergency arises, we have tips to help you and services we can provide to restore your smile once more.


What Is A Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency can be anything that involves your oral health and trauma. However, there are some common emergencies that dentists see frequently. Some may not seem like a big deal (such as a toothache), but could be signs of something worse happening in your mouth. Other times, the dental emergency is obvious, such as getting a tooth knocked out in an accident or sporting event. Taking action when an accident happens can help save a tooth instead of losing one for good. The majority of cases involving the teeth are not life-threatening and can be referred to a dental office instead of the emergency room.


Common Dental Emergencies

  • Cracked/Fractured/Chipped Tooth – If there is no pain when a chip occurs, it may not be a dental emergency. Still schedule an appointment with your dentist. However, a cracked or fractured tooth is considered a dental emergency because there is damage to the inside of a tooth. Take a painkiller and clean the mouth out gently with warm water. Call the dental office immediately with a cracked or fractured tooth to receive treatment.
  • Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth – If a permanent tooth is knocked out, make sure to old it by the crown side of the tooth and never the root. Do not handle the tooth more than necessary. The American Dental Association advises to keep the area moist at all times if you’ve knocked out a tooth. The ADA and many dentists advise to place the tooth back in the socket if it is possible to do without touching the root. If that is not possible, keep the tooth moist by placing it in milk, in between your cheek and gum or in a preservation product. If you are prone to knocking out teeth, it may be smart to purchase a mouthguard as well as a tooth preservation product with an ADA Seal of Acceptance on it. A mouthguard is the best way to protect the teeth from being knocked out in sports and high-contact activities.
  • Toothache – Clean around the sore tooth meticulously in case there is a piece of food stuck that is irritating the area. Some sources on the internet may tell you to rub aspirin on the tooth area, but NEVER do this. This could cause burns and damage to your gums. For temporary pain relief, we recommend using a painkiller such as acetaminophen. For toothaches that persist, it could be a sign of trauma or tooth decay inside a tooth. Call our office when this is the case so more serious problems with a tooth don’t occur.
  • Foreign Objects – If an object (such as a hard piece of a chip) becomes stuck in the gums or part of the teeth, never remove it with a sharp object. This could cause a worse accident to occur. Try to remove the piece of food or object with some floss. It that does not work, or the problem is severe, call our office right away. Avoiding biting down on or chewing hard objects (such as pencils) that could damage the teeth.
  • Lip/Gum Accident – It is common to bite a lip, the tongue or the inside of your cheek. Clean the area gently with water and, if needed, you can apply a cold compress to the area that is in pain. If you’ve bitten the inside of your cheek and it continues to happen, you can stick a wet wad of a paper towel in your mouth to keep the cheek away from the teeth. For bleeding, apply firm, yet gentle pressure to the area with sterile cloth until the bleeding stops. For serious cuts to the gums, tongue, or inside of the cheek, call our office.

Replacing and Restoring Teeth

Luckily for you, we have services to replace missing teeth and restore ones that have been damaged. Unluckily, it isn’t the best day if you lose or damage a tooth in the first place. We have the following to help restore your smile:

  • Tooth-Colored Fillings – We restore a tooth damaged by decay or trauma by bringing its normal function and shape back with a filling. We will remove the decayed part of your tooth, clean the area and replace it.
  • Crowns and Bridges – A crown is a cap that entirely covers a damaged tooth, strengthening it. If several teeth are missing, a bridge is used that comprises a crown and implant on both ends, with attached implants in the middle that are not set into the jaw.
  • Dental Implant – This replaces a missing tooth and is comprised of a metal post that is inserted into the jawbone, heals, and then receives a new synthetic tooth on top of it.
  • Dentures – These come in partial and full sets and replaces missing teeth and the surrounding tissue.


Call In An Emergency

For a true emergency that involves more than the teeth, seek a medical doctor or emergency room. We have preventative dentistry measures to avoid oral health issues from occurring and treatments to restore your smile when it’s been damaged. Wear a mouthguard to protect your smile during sports. Avoid chewing on hard candies or foreign objects and never use your teeth to cut or open things; use scissors. If you have a dental emergency, contact our Niles Family Dentistry office today at (303) 652-0400!

Ashley Niles

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