Dental Emergencies

Knowing what steps to take in a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. The best rule to follow in a dental emergency is to call your dentist immediately. Here are some tips to follow:

What to do IF..

By Jenni Frankenberg Veal

…Broken, chipped or cracked tooth:

Call your dentist immediately if you have a broken, chipped or cracked tooth. Save and rinse any pieces of a broken tooth and bring them with you to the dentist. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Apply gauze to the area if it is bleeding, and apply a cold compress on the outside of the mouth to reduce pain and swelling. A crack can result in sharp pain when biting down. Depending on the size and location of the crack, treatment may vary from bonding to root canal treatment.

…Knocked-out tooth:

If a tooth is knocked out, retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is exposed in the mouth), and rinse it off with water. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back into correct position, but never force it into the socket. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, put it in a small container of milk or a cup of water that contains a pinch of salt. Call your dentist immediately – teeth with the highest chance of being saved are those seen by a dentist within one hour of being knocked out.

…Object caught between teeth:Dental sidebar

Try removing an object that is stuck between teeth with dental floss. Do not try to remove the object with a pin or other sharp object as this can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface. If you can’t remove the object, call your dentist.

…Partially dislodged tooth:

Use a cold compress on the outside of the mouth or cheek to relieve pain and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if needed. Call your dentist immediately.

…Badly decaying or infected tooth:

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber, causing an infection or abscessed tooth. Symptoms of an infected or abscessed tooth can range from no pain to severe pain and swelling. A root canal is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes badly infected. Call your dentist if you experience any type of tooth pain.

Jenni Frankenberg Veal is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. She lives on Signal Mountain with her family and enjoys writing and blogging about Chattanooga and the outdoors. Her blog is www. YourOutdoorFamily.com.