How to Handle the 5 Most Common Dental Emergencies

How to Handle the 5 Most Common Dental Emergencies

There are lots of different types of dental emergencies, but they all have one thing in common: They’re unexpected. Prompt treatment is important for relieving pain and other symptoms — and it’s essential for preventing the problem from getting worse, too.

At Compassionate Endodontics, our team offers state-of-the-art treatment for dental emergencies and other urgent care needs, helping patients in New York City avoid complications that could cause long-term problems. Here’s what to do if you find yourself faced with one of these five common dental emergencies.

1. Loose or missing restoration

Cavities and crowns are designed for durability, but they’re not intended to last forever. If a restoration gets knocked out or loosens, immediate care is necessary for preventing decay or infection (not to mention, relieving pain).

The exposed tooth will likely be extra sensitive to air and other stimuli. Cover it with dental wax, then head to the office right away. If the restoration falls out, bring it with you. It might be able to serve as a temporary “cover” while a new restoration is made.

2. Broken or cracked tooth

Falls and other accidents may be a common cause of cracked or broken teeth, but they’re not the only way damage occurs. Chewing on ice, snacking on nuts, nervously nibbling on a pencil — all of these habits can lead to broken or chipped teeth, too.

If you break or chip a tooth, take an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort and call the office. If the jagged edge is irritating your cheeks or tongue, you can cover it with dental wax or sugarless gum until you can get to the office. Avoid eating on that side, and limit yourself to soft foods.

3. Serious toothache

Two of the most common causes of tooth pain are cavities and gum disease, but other problems can cause toothaches, too. Regardless of the cause, tooth pain is never normal — it’s a sign that your tooth is damaged or that damage is under way.

After calling the office, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If the gums are swollen, you can also try swishing with warm, salted water for a few minutes to reduce inflammation. Temporarily numb the area by applying clove oil or an over-the-counter toothache liquid or gel. Don’t put off your office visit — even if your tooth “miraculously” feels better.

4. Knocked-out adult tooth

If you’ve ever had a tooth knocked out, you know how alarming it can be to see a part of you lying in a tiny pool of blood on the floor. Nerve-racking, yes — but believe it or not, a knocked-out tooth can often be replanted. The key is preserving the tooth and getting immediate care, either at our office or, if it’s after hours, at the nearest emergency room.

To preserve the tooth, pick it up without touching the roots and gently rinse off any dirt. Place it back in the socket or between your cheek and gum. If that’s not possible, place it in a container of milk (water can have chemicals that can damage the tooth root) and seek care immediately.

5. Gum or other soft tissue injury

A cut in your gum or other soft tissue can quickly become infected. After calling the office, swish your mouth gently with salt water or antiseptic mouthwash. 

Apply pressure to the cut using a clean piece of gauze, cloth, or paper towel. You can also try wrapping a piece of ice in a cloth and apply it to the area. 

Advanced treatment for your dental emergency

If you have any type of dental emergency or any type of unusual tooth- or mouth-related symptoms, don’t ignore it. Our team can help. Call 929-229-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontics today.

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