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How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies Before Reaching our Office

Dec 13, 2022
How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies Before Reaching our Office
Coping with a knocked-out tooth, throbbing jaw pain, or another urgent dental problem can be daunting, but knowing which self-care strategies to use during your dental emergency can improve your treatment outcome once you reach our office.

It’s virtually impossible to anticipate a dental emergency. But when one happens, having access to same-day emergency dentistry services — and knowing the kind of intermediary self-care to employ for your problem before you reach our office — can make a world of difference in your treatment outcome.

Here at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana, we offer same-day visits for urgent dental problems that can’t wait for a regularly scheduled appointment. In addition to seeing you in our office as soon as possible, our expert team also provides concrete, over-the-phone advice to help you alleviate pain, minimize oral irritation, and keep your problem under control until you receive proper care. 

Read on as Dr. Suzette Nikas and Dr. Chelsea Laucher explain which dental concerns are urgent, and explore effective self-care strategies to help you manage common problems on the way to our office.

Am I having a dental emergency?

It’s not unusual for patients to underestimate the seriousness of a broken tooth, a lost crown, or an abrupt toothache, especially if the problem isn’t too painful or disruptive. But you don’t need to experience intense or even persistent pain to be in the midst of a dental emergency. 

Understanding the need for emergency dental care starts with knowing how to recognize an urgent oral health problem when it happens. Common dental emergencies include:

  • Intense or persistent toothache or jaw pain
  • Radiating tooth pain or abscess (infection)
  • Gum tissue irritation, pain, or inflammation
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken tooth enamel
  • A loosened or knock-out permanent tooth 
  • Loosened or lost crowns, fillings, or bridges
  • Traumatic injury to any of your oral tissues

Any acute oral injury or persistent dental pain that you can’t effectively relieve or resolve on your own qualifies as a dental emergency. 

Self-care for common dental emergencies 

Starting the right self-care measures at the onset of a dental emergency can vastly improve your in-office treatment outcome, especially when coping with a severe problem like a knocked-out tooth. Here are self-care strategies for four common urgent dental problems:

Persistent toothache

A relentless toothache may signify deep dental decay, an infection (abscess) in or around the tooth, or food particles trapped between your teeth or below the gum line. All require immediate treatment.

After securing your same-day urgent care appointment with our team, gently swish with warm water to soothe the affected area. You can also hold a cold compress over the area for extra relief. If you decide to take a pain reliever to ease your discomfort, skip the aspirin, which can increase your risk of excessive bleeding should you need a root canal or an extraction.

Loosened or lost dental work

While you don’t always need same-day care for loosened or lost crowns, fillings, bonding, or bridges, prompt care is crucial for keeping food, bacteria, and germs out of the exposed area. 

If you can’t see us within a few days, avoid hard foods, chew on the unaffected side, and rinse your mouth well after each meal. You can also use over-the-counter dental filling material to temporarily seal an exposed cavity and protect your tooth from infection. Over-the-counter dental cement can help you temporarily secure a loose crown. Follow all product instructions.

Chipped or cracked enamel 

Immediate self-care for damaged tooth enamel is similar to self-care strategies for severe tooth pain: Gently soothe the area with a warm-water swish or a cold compress, and take a pain reliever (not aspirin) to alleviate intense discomfort. 

To safeguard against further damage, stick to soft foods or a liquid diet and avoid chewing on the affected side until your tooth can be repaired in our office. If a piece of your tooth has broken off, place the fragment in a small container with water. In some cases, it’s possible to restore your broken tooth with its own missing fragment. 

Knocked-out adult tooth

When a permanent tooth is accidentally knocked loose or completely knocked from its socket, prompt action can mean the difference between saving your natural tooth or winding up with an artificial tooth replacement like a dental implant.

To preserve its viability for possible reattachment, rinse your tooth gently, put it in a clean container, and cover it with milk, saliva, or water. The key takeaway? Keeping your lost tooth moist is what keeps it alive and viable. Then, come directly to our office so we can determine whether your tooth can be successfully reattached. 

Urgent dental care you can rely on

Maintaining good oral health through consistent daily oral hygiene habits and twice-yearly dental cleanings and exams can go a long way in preventing the problems (deep decay and severe infection) that lead to many dental emergencies. 

Unfortunately, some urgent dental problems can’t be avoided, even with top-notch preventive care. If you find yourself facing a dental emergency, call or click online to book a same-day appointment at Hazel Hill Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana, today. We’re here to help!