What Do I Do In Case Of A Dental Emergency? 

Knowing what to do when dental emergencies or facial injuries occur can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them:

How do I treat a toothache?

A toothache generally means you need to see the dentist for treatment of the tooth. Until you see the dentist it may help to rinse your mouth out with warm water ( not cold as this can cause the pain to increase) to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Pain killers are your best bet to see you through until you can have treatment. Oil of cloves from the pharmacy may also dilute the pain temporarily. If the pain is severe and radiating around your face, you may have a dental abscess. If you are out in the bush and nowhere near a  dentist, then your medical doctor may be able to prescribe you antibiotics-  however  antibiotics only mask the pain temporarily and will take a few days to kick in.

I’ve chipped my tooth! What do I do?

A chipped tooth can happen due to trauma or due to an underlying cavity. Wether in pain or not it’s important to see your dentist for them to get to the root of the problem – even if it’s not causing you pain. Often a chipped tooth can be treated with a simple filling – however if you wait too long it may turn into a root canal or crown.

What do I do if I knock out my tooth?

For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums or in milk. Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.

What do I do if my child knocks out a tooth?

If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether there is a need to implant it again and wether  knocking out the tooth damaged the developing adult tooth that lies underneath the baby tooth.

What if I crack my tooth?

A cracked tooth needs to be extracted – fast. It often comes hand in hand with extreme pain and discomfort. While waiting to see your dentist, rinse your mouth out with warm water – to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any pain and swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.

If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?

If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist if there is excessive bleeding, the bleeding won’t stop or you are in a lot of pain.

What if I think my jaw is broken?

If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately – they may need to splint your jaw.

How can I avoid a dental emergency?

There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid dental emergencies. For example:

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities. That includes when riding a bike!
  • Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy such as hard min ties or Redskins or tiger apples – all of which can crack a tooth.
  • Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.
  • See a dentist regularly for your preventive care appointments which should include check ups, cleans, X-rays and oral cancer checks.
    This is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent you from experiencing dental emergencies and will save you money in the long run as it will help spot problems early when they are small and prevent them from getting bigger, badder and more costly.

Remember teeth need to last you a lifetime and just as your car -that is used daily – needs regular maintenance ( and then still only lasts a number of years), teeth need these regular checks to ensure they last a lifetime.

Call 33698300 or book an appointment online.