At Lakeside Dental Care, we know that dental emergencies often happen after practices are closed. That’s why we have a dentist on call seven days a week to handle after-hour dental emergencies for our patients.
Knowing what to do can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Reviewing these tips before an accident occurs can help you remain calm and handle an emergency effectively.
Post Your Dental Office Phone Number
Just like any emergency number – the family doctor, police or fire department – your dental office phone number should be included with your emergency numbers. Some families post these numbers on the refrigerator or inside a kitchen cabinet door near the phone.
Protect Your Smile
You and your family can take simple precautions to avoid accident and injury to your teeth. One way to reduce the chances of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk. Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth. And, always cut tape using scissors – not your teeth.
The following advice can help you deal with common dental emergencies when they arise:
- Toothache – Many conditions can cause toothaches. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If you are experiencing pain, swelling, fever, and/or generalized weakness that you believe is related to a tooth problem, please call your dentist immediately as this could indicate a serious medical condition.
- Broken/Cracked Tooth – A broken or cracked tooth may or may not be painful. Stop any bleeding by applying gentle pressure. Rinse the area with warm water to cleanse. Use a cold compress to keep swelling down. Call your dentist immediately.
- Knocked Out Tooth – Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to bring the tooth with you.
- Lost Filling or Broken Crown – A lost filling may be replaced with temporary material that can be purchased at the drug store. The filling should then be replaced permanently by your dentist to prevent decay from food or bacteria. A broken crown should be re-cemented to avoid decay on the remaining tooth structure. A small amount of temporary material or even toothpaste can be used to hold the crown in place until you can be seen by your dentist.
- Bitten Lip or Tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
- Possible Broken Jaw – Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.
Thousands of dental emergencies – from minor injuries to an abscessed tooth – take place every day. Knowing what to do can lessen the pain and save a tooth that might otherwise be lost. If you are a patient of record, and find yourself with an after-hours dental emergency, please call your Lakeside Dental Care practice location for instructions on reaching the doctor on call.