What Should You Do in a Dental Emergency?

September 21, 2018

Headshot drawing of a dark-haired man in a teal suiteclutching his forehead in panic due to a dental emergency

No matter how great you are at maintaining your oral health, certain dental emergencies can happen at almost any time. If you do experience a dental emergency, remember to stay calm and to call our office ASAP. Don’t panic! If you’re not sure what constitutes a dental emergency, or you are uncertain about how to best handle one until emergency dental care can be received, check out our tips below!

1. Toothache or Abscess

A toothache can indicate a number of different things, including something as minor as a popcorn kernel lodged between your teeth. To remove any rogue food particles, try flossing and rinsing your mouth a few times with warm salt water. Or your tooth may be sensitive and painful when exposed to extreme temperatures or pressure due to receding gums or thinned enamel caused by vigorous brushing or teeth grinding. Ask us for a refresher on proper brushing technique or about a nightguard to protect your mouth during sleep. A toothache can also be a sign of something more serious, such as an untreated cavity or a tooth infection. Advanced decay and infections will need to be treated with root canal therapy so it’s critical to come see us before your tooth is damaged beyond saving. A dental abscess, caused by a bacterial infection, requires treatment ASAP before the infection spreads. There are three kinds of abscess: periodontal, gingival and periapical. If you have an abscess, you may feel pain, have a bad taste in your mouth, and develop fatigue and/or a fever. If you have trouble breathing or swallowing, go to the nearest emergency room!

2. Chipped or Cracked Tooth

A chipped tooth is usually just a cosmetic issue that can later be repaired with a dental crown or dental veneer. However, a broken or cracked tooth can allow bacteria to access and damage the sterile soft tissue inside your tooth, called the pulp. Even if a broken or cracked tooth isn’t yet giving you pain, come see us so we can seal up your tooth before decay and infection have a chance to set in.

3. Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth can usually be salvaged if it is kept moist and reinserted within the hour of losing it. First, handle your tooth only by it’s crown (chewing surface) and gently wash it off with milk or water. Then, if you feel comfortable doing so, try to re-implant the tooth yourself with proper positioning. If you hold it in place and there is no pain, it may just take and successfully re-implant. If you don’t feel comfortable re-inserting it, transport your tooth in a container of milk on your way to our office.

Call Us at (832) 437–5895!

Be sure to ask us any additional questions you have about how to handle a dental emergency. Heritage Dental delivers prompt emergency care so please call us as soon as urgent dental problems develop.