You take good care of your teeth. However, an accident or misplaced bite is all it takes to knock out a tooth or damage several teeth and the gums. In a dental emergency, quick action can save your smile and get pain under control. This quick rundown on what counts as an emergency and what to do can prepare you for the unexpected. We’ve also included a few home remedies to manage the pain until you can be seen.
Urgent or Non-Urgent Dental Emergency?
Not every mouth or tooth problem is an urgent emergency. The difference between urgent and non-urgent can mean the difference between a call to the dentist at midnight and waiting until regular office hours. The following fall under the emergency category:
- A loose or knocked-out tooth
- Painful, unexplained jaw or facial swelling
- Painful toothache that does not get better
- Uncontrolled bleeding gums
- Extreme tooth sensitivity that interferes with normal activities
- Swollen face, cheeks, or jaw with a toothache
Non-urgent dental emergencies are still good reason to call the dentist. However, you can wait until normal office hours, and don’t panic if they don’t schedule you the same or next day. Common non-urgent emergencies include:
- A broken or cracked tooth (as long as it’s not causing extreme pain)
- Damaged or broken night guard or retainer
- Dull toothache
- Mild tooth sensitivity
- Lost filling, bridge, or crown
- Small chip in a tooth
Who Should I Contact in a Dental Emergency?
If you’re experiencing something on the urgent emergency list, call your dentist right away. They’ll give you instructions and may see you the same or next day or meet you at their office in off hours. Call your oral surgeon or other specialist for tooth, jaw, or facial pain related to a recent dental procedure. At Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute, we offer 24/7 support for our patients. Call 561-833-6880 to get support and instructions in an emergency that relates to a procedure done at our office.
In the case of non-urgent emergencies, a call to the dentist is still a good idea. You’ll get instructions and possibly schedule an appointment. If the condition worsens, be sure to follow up with your dentist. If you’ve recently had a procedure at Good Sam and you’re experiencing a non-urgent emergency related to your implant, call our office.
Home Helps in a Emergency
Home remedies can go a long way to increase your comfort until you can see the dentist. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths to bring down your heart rate and recenter yourself. Depending on the issue, you can:
- Rinse with a mouthwash made with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water (Swish it around your mouth to reduce irritation and swelling.)
- Put a knocked-out tooth in a cup of milk until you get to the dentist
- Floss to remove food trapped at the gum line
- Put a cold compression on a swollen face or jaw to reduce swelling
- Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to kill bacteria and reduce irritation
- Take over-the-counter pain medications (in the correct dosage)
While you can’t prevent every emergency, certain issues can get stopped before they start by:
- Making and keeping regular dental cleaning appointments
- Performing good oral hygiene at home, including brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Following the dentist’s or oral surgeon’s instructions after a procedure
- Being careful when eating extra hard to sticky foods
- Never using your teeth to cut things
Finally, if you’ve had a dental implant at Good Sam, you get free yearly follow-up check-ups for the life of the implant. Those appointments make sure your implant stays strong and functioning to reduce the chances of an emergency.
We’re Here to Help
A clear, steady head in an emergency can save a tooth and quickly get pain under control. Call your dentist, or our office at 561-833-6880 if you’re one of our patients, to get emergency dental care. At Good Sam, we’re here to help and provide the compassion and services you need when time matters.