Sometimes the difference in saving or losing a tooth is knowing what to do when faced with a dental emergency. We have placed helpful information on this site to get you stable until you can get to our office. A general rule of thumb is if it hurts then it is an emergency. Living tissues inside the teeth can become injured and cause problems in the future.
Sports injuries are some of the most common so protecting your teeth by wearing a mouthguard is the best policy.
TOOTH IS LOST
Rinse the tooth off gently by holding the crown (the part you see above the gumline) if it is dirty. Be careful NOT TO SCRUB any of the tissue off the root of the tooth. Gently try to slide it back into place after orienting it correctly. Hold it in place with firm pressure for a few minutes and get to your dentist immediately. If you are not able to get the tooth back into place, DO NOT FORCE IT. Place the tooth in a container of milk and get to your dentist or the emergency room as soon as possible. Time is of the essence.
FRACTURED TOOTH OR DISLODGED TOOTH
Rinse your mouth, apply cold compresses for the swelling since facial lacerations usually accompany the fractured or dislodged tooth, take Tylenol or Advil (ibuprophen) for the pain, and get to your dentist immediately.
If you bite down on your tooth and have a sharp pain and notice you avoid chewing on that side, you may have a cracked tooth. Leaving the cracked tooth and hoping the pain simply goes away may mean that you lose the tooth. Seek treatment as soon as possible and maintain a soft diet until your dentist examines the tooth.
BITTEN TONGUE OR LIP
Biting your tongue or lip can cause inflammation and bleeding. Use ice to control the swelling and firm pressure with a cold compress to help stop the bleeding. You can use gauze or a soaked tea bag for 15-20 minutes to help stop bleeding. If the laceration is deep or extremely painful and you cannot stop the bleeding, go to the emergency room immediately.
If you have received a severe blow to your face and unable to move your jaw normally, you may have a fractured jaw and need to proceed to the emergency room immediately.
Toothache is by far is the
most common dental emergency. It is caused by bacteria entering into the tooth
or gums and causing an abcess. Getting treatment as soon as possible is the best
advice. Leaving infection in the body is not only extremely painful but it can
spread to other parts of the head and neck causing serious health problems. Very
rarely, dental infections can be life threatening.
Until you can get to a dentist, taking Advil or Ibuprophen for a time period of NO LONGER THAN THREE DAYS can help until you can be seen. Remember to not exceed 2400mg in a 24 hour time period.
If you have stomach ulcers, have high blood pressure, or have been told you cannot take ibuprophen, you can take Tylenol for pain for NO LONGER THAN THREE DAYS. You must know that an overdose of Tylenol is 4000mg in a 24 hour period and even though these medications are over the counter they are still processed through your liver and kidneys and should be respected still as pain medication. Using the least amount needed to relieve your pain until you can have treatment is the best advice.
Using ice packs or a heating pad (whichever makes you feel better) can offer some relief. Orajel will sometimes offer some relief as well. Remember to NEVER place an aspirin on the tissue next to the tooth. This can result in a severe chemical burn to the tissue and cause more pain.
If you see a hole in your tooth, the pharmacy sells temporary dental fillers. Please know that in most cases, you probably have decay that caused the hole in the first place. Occasionally, putting these fillers in teeth without treating and removing the decay can cause pressure in the tooth that can result in more discomfort. Ideally, getting to your dentist is the best solution for a toothache.
Apthous ulcers are those very small and painful sores that occur in the mouth. They are commonly cause by stess, trauma, or a reaction to certain foods. If you have a sore in your mouth, apply Orajel on the site or try rinsing with Rincinol, both commonly found in the pharmacy. These ulcers, also commonly referred to as canker sores, usually resolve in 7-10 days. Avoiding acidic foods such as oranges and tomatos and avoiding spicy foods will be helpful. We will be happy to see you in the office to assess your conditions and advise you of treatment if needed. If the sore is not resolved in 2 weeks, you need to seek the advice of a dentist to ensure it is not a more serious condition.
If you are a patient of record and having a dental emergency after hours, you may reach the Doctors by calling their mobile at 706-968-0676. Please be advised they have their office records available to them and will only return calls to patients of record.
The advice given here is not meant to diagnose or by any means meant to be the final treatment for your tooth or dental concern. It is only meant to help you know what to do when you are faced with a dental emergency until you can have a professional examine, diagnose, and treat your concern.