When you realize you’ve got a dental emergency, it’s only natural to feel worried or afraid. It can be hard to see inside your mouth to determine what’s really going on. Dental emergencies are accompanied by pain, discomfort, or bleeding, making a bad situation even worse.
At Avalon Dental, we want to help our patients in San Ramon, California, handle the most common dental emergencies while they wait for their dental appointment. Our practice offers a wide range of dental services, and Dr. Cliff Broschinsky and our dental care team strive to work in emergency patients as quickly as possible.
We’ve put together information to help you handle the most common dental emergencies en route to our office.
Broken or chipped teeth
Teeth can get broken or chipped in many ways. Biting down on a hard piece of food, banging your mouth during a game, and even bumping a glass of water the wrong way can cause damage.
Save the chipped or broken pieces if possible, as Dr. Broschinsky can often salvage them. While en route to your appointment, you can take over-the-counter pain medicine to reduce discomfort and use cold packs to reduce any swelling.
When a tooth breaks or cracks, it’s possible for the pulp or root to become exposed. This causes pain and increases your risk of developing an infection. In these cases, call your dentist immediately and let them know. Delaying treatment increases your risk of losing the tooth.
Abscesses or infections
Abscesses, or infections around the root of the tooth or in the gum, are a serious condition that requires treatment. If left untreated, the infection can spread and damage other tissue and teeth. Untreated abscesses can even lead to life-threatening complications.
If you develop an abscess, call to schedule an appointment at Avalon Dental as soon as possible. If you’re away from the area, call a local dentist or visit the emergency room.
While you wait to be seen, rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day. This helps ease discomfort and draw the infection toward the surface of the gum. You may want to take over-the-counter pain medicine to help with swelling and any discomfort.
A loose or knocked-out tooth
If you have a permanent tooth that gets knocked out or becomes loose, it’s natural to worry! The good news is that Dr. Broschinsky can often save your tooth if you follow these steps:
- Recover the tooth, but sure you don’t touch the root
- Rinse the tooth in cold water
- Make a dental appointment as soon as possible
- Try putting the tooth back into the empty space and holding it in place until you reach our office
- If putting the tooth back isn’t possible, place it in a glass of milk for transport to our office
Even if your natural tooth can’t be saved, Dr. Broschinsky evaluates the damage and recommends the right course of treatment to help save your smile.
Damaged or missing dental work
Fillings and crowns can sometimes become loose and even fall out over time or when you bump your mouth. If you notice damaged or missing dental work, schedule an appointment to have the work repaired as soon as possible.
If you realize a crown or filling is coming loose, try to avoid swallowing it. Dr. Broschinsky can sometimes re-use a lost crown, so save it if possible and bring it in with you to your appointment.
While you’re en route to your appointment, you can use denture cream or a small amount of toothpaste to temporarily hold the crown in place and protect your underlying tooth. Just be sure not to bite down or chew on that side!
Soft tissue injuries
The soft tissue injuries include damage to the cheeks, lips, tongue, and gums. When the soft tissue of your mouth is injured, you can expect to see some bleeding. Because bleeding can make it difficult to see the extent of the injury, it’s important to get this under control first.
First rinse with saltwater, then use clean gauze to apply pressure to the injured area. If you don’t have gauze handy, you can use an unused teabag. Hold it in place for 20 minutes to stop the blood flow.
You can also apply a cold compress to the cheek outside the injured area for 10 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see a dentist immediately or visit the emergency room. Be sure to apply pressure to the injured area while you wait.
If you or someone in your family is experiencing a dental emergency, follow the tips above and be sure to call or schedule a visit with Dr. Broschinsky and the team at Avalon Dental!