About Dental EmergenciesDental emergencies can often be one of the most challenging parts of dentistry but they are also the most rewarding as well. As heath care providers it is our job to treat people in a compassionate manner and do everything we can to alleviate the source of the emergency. Often we need to be able to see you in order assess the level of care required but below are some tips on how to deal with some types of emergencies.
Avulsed tooth (tooth knocked out)
If a baby tooth has been knocked out, don’t worry. There will be a permanent tooth that will eventually take its place. It’s still important to bring your child in so we can assess if there are any other tooth fragments remaining or if other care is required to adjacent teeth or gum tissues.
Here are some steps to take if it’s a permanent tooth:
- Pick up the tooth by the crown only; try not to touch the root
- Rinse off with warm water while holding the white portion only
- If possible, and the root is not fractured off, place it back into the tooth socket
- If you cannot place the tooth back into the socket find some milk or spit into a cup with saliva and store the tooth
- Time is of the essence, get to the office as quickly as safely as possible so we can assess whether the tooth can be reimplanted and splinted
Lost filling or crown
It’s important to call and come in as soon as you can if a filling or crown comes loose and/or there is pain.
Keep the crown in a safe place and bring it in with you so we can evaluate whether it can be placed back in your mouth. The longer the tooth is out of your mouth the longer other teeth have a chance to drift and move into the space previously occupied by the crown.
If a dentist is not readily available you can purchase temporary cement from a local pharmacy to place the crown back on the tooth.
DO NOT use any type of residential or commercial cement to reattach the crown; this can cause serious damage to your tooth and gums.
We may need to fabricate a new crown if a cavity has developed.
Studies show that it can take as little at 5 minutes for a previous root canal system to become reinfected with bacteria if exposed. In these cases it’s important to come in right away so the root canal does not need to be redone.
Cracked or broken teeth
Teeth and our filling materials are quite strong. That being said your mastication system is equally as strong. Teeth can fracture and so can fillings so it’s important for us to assess the level of fracture quickly after it happens.
If the tooth is painful and a dentist is not available you may purchase some topical anaesthetic from the pharmacy to place on the area. If the pain does not subside we do have an emergency number on our voicemail.
A Dental Abscess
If you have an abscess and/or draining puss then antibiotics will be required. If the office is not open and the pain is getting worse and/or you are experiencing difficulty breathing proceed directly to an emergency room for evaluation.
When you come into our office we will need to determine the source of the infection and possibly drain the abscess.
If required we will perform an emergency root canal if the cause is a dead pulp chamber but we also need assess whether it is a possible periodontal or sinus infection.