How To Deal With a Dental Emergency

Like any other kind of medical emergency, a dental emergency can be frightening and traumatic. No matter the cause, acting quickly and following the right steps are key to preventing further complications. Before reaching for the phone, follow these best practices for every kind of dental emergency.

Fractured Teeth

If hard food or facial trauma cracks teeth, the fracture can cause shooting pain, temperature sensitivity and swelling. This is because the pulp at the center of the tooth is exposed.

Relieve symptoms with over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications. Afterwards, bite down gently on a slightly moist clean cloth. Make an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be mended with a bridge or crown.

Knocked-out Teeth

Every year, children lose five million teeth to facial trauma, but people of every age know the pain. Timing is crucial to preserve lost teeth. In the first 30 minutes:

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown but never by the root.
  • Do not rinse with water. Do not use soap or any chemicals. This will destroy any viable cells on the root surface of the tooth.
  • If possible, put the tooth back into its socket with the root facing down.
  • If that's not possible, put it in your mouth next to your cheek. Otherwise, leave it in a small container with milk.
  • See a dentist or endodontist.

It's possible to save a tooth after 30 minutes, but see a professional as soon as possible.

Jaw Injuries

A dislocated, broken or fractured jaw causes pain, bruises, swelling and numbness. Wrap an ice-pack in a towel and hold it to the area up to 20 minutes per hour. See a professional as soon as possible. Avoid talking or eating anything besides soft foods.

Soft-tissue Damage and Bleeding

Any type of dental emergency can cause cuts and bleeding in cheeks, lips, gums or tongues. Swish with clean water to keep the wound clean and relieve swelling by sucking on a frozen food such as a popsicle. Apply pressure with gauze to stop bleeding.

If bleeding occurs for a long period after dental surgery, return to your dentist as soon as possible.

Abscesses, Infections and Toothaches

Tooth abscesses and infections often occur after a tooth has been fractured or broken. They don't set in quickly but can spread throughout the bloodstream. Sometimes, mouth infections cause fatal brain abcesses.

Common symptoms of infections and abscesses include:

  • Redness and swelling along the neck and face
  • Toothaches
  • Bad breath
  • Bad tastes in the mouth
  • Fever

Take over-the-counter pain relievers and avoid using the affected part of the mouth. Make a dentist appointment as soon as possible.

Lost or Damaged Dental Appliances

Losing a crown, bridge or other dental appliance can change the way a person bites and cause other teeth to shift. When a filling falls out, it can cause an infection. Always save whatever dental appliance came out and bring it to your next appointment. Have the appliance replaced as soon as possible.

Schedule an Appointment Following a Dental Emergency in Vancouver

A dental emergency is traumatic enough. At Cypress Dental of Vancouver, our office is designed to be as comfortable as possible. To schedule an appointment following a dental emergency, contact us today. Our team is experienced in multiple oral surgery procedures that save smiles.