Almost everyone has suffered a dental emergency or knows someone who has had a dental emergency. When a tooth is knocked out or damaged, and sudden pain occurs, it can be easy to panic – but staying calm in an emergency situation can be crucial for a positive outcome. Educate yourself on what to do if you or someone you know has a sudden dental issue, and keep your Staten Island dentist’s number in an easy to access place.
Step One: Identify an Emergency
A dental emergency doesn’t have to land you in the local ER. If you have a serious dental issue, you should be able to call your dentist for emergency care. You can identify a dental crisis if:
- You suddenly have severe, unrelenting or stabbing pain in your tooth or jaw
- You notice severe swelling in your gums, your gums start bleeding profusely, or there is any pus
- One of your teeth severely chipped, cracked or fractured, causing mouth pain
- One of your teeth has been knocked out of your mouth, or loosened from an impact
- Your bridgework or a partial denture has broken or bent badly
- You have cuts in your lips, cheeks, or gums caused by a hard blow to your mouth
Step Two: Call for Help
Immediately call your Staten Island dentist and ask for an emergency appointment. (Our office takes emergency calls 24 hours a day). Describe the situation as clearly as possible.
Step Three: Take Action
If a tooth has been knocked out, make sure to only handle it by the crown (top of the tooth), not the root. Rinse it gently in plain water, place it back in the socket if possible, and hold it in place with a wet gauze. If you can’t get it back in the socket, wrap in gauze around it and immerse it in cold milk.
If a tooth has been loosened or moved out of position, first try to gently move the tooth to its original alignment using only a very light finger pressure – don’t force the tooth back into place if it doesn’t go easily. You can place a small piece of gauze over the tooth and bite down gently to immobilize it.
If a tooth has been fractured, you should rinse your mouth with warm water, but don’t swish it around much. Just rinse and let the water drain out of your mouth before blotting gently with gauze. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to reduce the swelling, and take a an over the counter ibuprofen-based (NOT aspirin) pill for pain.
Swift action may allow the damage to be quickly repaired, and even a tooth which has been knocked out may be salvaged. If not, your Staten Island dentist can help you with a treatment plan to restore your smile.