What to do if You Are In Need of Emergency Dental Treatment

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When it comes to breaking a bone or some other imminent threat to your health, everyone knows to get to a hospital right away. However, when it comes to dental health emergencies, many people are at a loss for what to do. As a result, they may receive treatment too late, potentially leading to serious complications. For this reason, it’s important to understand what you should do in a dental emergency.

Emergency Dental

You Knock a Tooth Out

Recover the tooth and rinse it off to remove foreign debris. Be sure not to scrub the tooth, and if there is any tissue on it, leave it alone. If bleeding is present, bite firmly on a piece of cotton or gauze until it stops. Place the stray tooth in a cup of milk or in your cheek to preserve it and call your dentist immediately. In many cases, the tooth can be saved if it’s addressed within one hour of being knocked out.

You Broke or Chipped A Tooth

If your tooth breaks or chips, save the pieces if at all possible. Swish with warm, salty water to cleanse your mouth and wash away any minute pieces of tooth. If bleeding is present, bite down firmly on a piece of gauze or cotton for ten minutes, or until the area stops bleeding. Pressing a cold compress to the cheek over the affected area can help reduce swelling, lessen discomfort and slow bleeding. As soon as the situation is under control, call your dentist and let them know what happened. If you act quickly enough, there’s a chance the dentist can reattach the broken pieces of your tooth.

You Have an Abscess

An abscess develops due to a buildup of pus caused by a tooth infection. Abscesses are emergencies in any case, but because of the proximity to the brain, tooth abscesses are particularly serious. If left untreated, the infection can rapidly spread to the brain, a potentially fatal situation. It’s critical to see your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, rinse your mouth with warm, salty water. This helps to remove pathogens and encourages pus to drain from the abscess. However, even if you successfully manage to drain the abscess, you should still call your Paramount Dentistry dentist right away. He or she will need to make sure the abscess has drained completely, clean out the area and see that there are no other complications.

Dental emergencies can be just as big a threat to your health as a medical emergency. By being aware of what to do in the event of a dental emergency, you can improve your odds of saving your teeth as well as prevent more serious complications.


Samantha Stainsburry is a freelance blogger from Charlottesville, VA. She's a major history buff, and loves living in Thomas Jefferson's hometown. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and finding new music among other things. Her personal ambition is beat to Ken Jennings' Jeopardy record with her vast trivia knowledge.

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2 Comments on "What to do if You Are In Need of Emergency Dental Treatment"

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Lauren Woodley
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Thank you for all of the insight about different dental emergencies. My daughter actually chipped her tooth when she was playing, and I don’t really know what to do. You advise that you should keep as many pieces as possible, clean the mouth, and get to the dentist as soon as possible so that they can deal with the issue and get the tooth back to looking like normal. Overall, I can see how staying calm and making sure my daughter is all right in the situation is always the first step and then calling the dentist will always be… Read more »
Kirstin Guerra
Guest

My son was out playing with some friends in the snow and tripped and hit his mouth on concrete. He knocked a tooth out and I’m not sure what to do. My dentist is out of town for the holidays. I should really have an emergency dentist, but I don’t. Thank you for the tips on what to do in this situation. Hopefully I can find an emergency dentist so the tooth can still be saved.

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