A Guide To Handling Dental Emergencies

A dental emergency is any dental problem causing severe pain, swelling, or bleeding, or any situation that may require immediate attention in order to save a tooth. Unlike other medical emergencies, not many people have adequate knowledge of what to do during a dental emergency.

So, to better equip you in handling such situations, here is a brief guide on what you should do if you or someone you know requires emergency dental services. For this article, we’ll be treating dental emergencies in the context of a traumatic injury to the mouth and jaw area.

Basic Steps

1. Keep Calm

It is natural for fight-or-flight anxieties to trigger during a stressful situation. Slow down and take a deep breath before best figuring out how to proceed.

2. Check the Patient’s Condition

If the individual is unresponsive, has a suspected concussion, or other severe injuries, dial 000. This falls under a medical emergency and requires treatment at your nearest emergency hospital.

3. Examine The Mouth

Once you’re certain the individual is awake with no injuries to the head, check the mouth.

If there is soft tissue trauma or bleeding, apply medical gauze and keep firm pressure on the wound for at least 30 minutes.

However, if the wound is large or you cannot stop the bleeding, call 000.

4. Assess The Teeth

If there are no cuts or bleeding in the gums or other injuries, assess the teeth.

Has the tooth completely fallen out of the gum? Try and stow the fallen tooth. With the tooth stored in a safe and hygienic place, saving it is possible if you get to a dentist promptly.

If the patient is an adult, gently wash the fallen tooth with milk and try to place it back in its socket. Failing that, place it in a container of milk to preserve it.

If the individual is a child, remove the tooth fragment if possible to prevent risk of inhalation. Immediately contact your dentist.

In cases where tooth fragments have chipped off, store it in a container of milk and bring it with you to the dentist.

5. Contact Your Dentist

If you or someone you know has a dental injury, contact your family dental practice as soon as possible. Explain the situation carefully for your dentist to effectively help guide you through the emergency.

Handling Different Types Of Dental Emergencies

1. Toothaches

Rinse your mouth with warm water or antibacterial mouthwash, and apply a cold compress to help with pain and reduce any swelling that has occurred. Painkillers can also temporarily ease the pain.

While treated as an inconvenience, toothaches often signify more serious issues – so visit a dentist as soon as possible.

2. Swelling

Often caused by an infection, localised swelling in the tooth or gums can be accompanied by pus.

You can apply a cold compress or use oral cream to help, but the only way to reduce the swelling is to visit your family dental practice to address the root of the issue.

3. Cracked or chipped teeth

Collect any broken pieces of the tooth, rinse your mouth, and bite on a piece of gauze to stem the blood flow. Store the fragments in milk and immediately contact your dentist for emergency dental services.

4. Missing/loose filling

You can temporarily place a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity for comfort. This prevents sensitivity by blocking the exposed dentine/nerves from hot or cold stimuli. Be sure to call your dentist to address the issue.

If a crown has fallen out, store it and bring it with you to your dentist appointment to see if it can be recemented.

5. Knocked out tooth

If you have lost a permanent tooth, try and pick it up by the crown rather than the side. Run milk or water over the tooth and gently try to place it back in its socket.

If you cannot do so or there is a danger of swallowing the tooth, preserve it by placing it in fresh milk and immediately call your dentist for what to do next.

During a dental emergency, contacting your family dental practice is the most sensible course of action. The sooner you see the dentist, the sooner you can relieve your discomfort and restore your teeth to their original condition.

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