Your Smile Dental Care

How to Manage Your Dental Emergency

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Be Prepared for the Holidays

We all look forward to the holidays when we can relax with family and friends and enjoy all the great festive foods that the season has to offer. What we don’t expect, however, is a dental emergency! So what are you to do if you find yourself needing a safe home remedy to tie you over until you can get to your dental office?

 

Break a tooth?

Many things can cause your tooth to break including injury, biting down too hard, cavities and large fillings. If you break or chip a tooth your should see your dentist right away. Even a small chip in your tooth can progress into a much more complicated matter and can cause further damage to your tooth, so it is best to have a broken tooth attended to as quickly as possible. Fixing your broken tooth will depend on the extent of damage and how quickly you are able to arrange treatment so that the tooth doesn’t continue to break. Very small chips can sometimes be smoothed off, but fractures extending into the root area may, in some cases, have to be removed

Your at home steps:

1. Rinse your mouth immediately with warm water to remove any small bits and pieces of tooth and other debris.
2. If you are bleeding form the tooth or mouth area, you can use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding.
3. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion.
4. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
5. Call your dentist

 

Lost a filling?

You may not think of a lost filling as an emergency, but it can be a traumatic and even painful experience for many people. Sometimes both the filling and a piece of tooth breaks off, while other times it’s actually just the tooth and not a filling. Fillings do not last forever and may fall out for a number of reasons. Your dentist will examine the area to determine why it fell out and discuss the repair options with you. Do not delay treatment as the tooth may continue to breakdown and could fracture into the root. There are many occasions when teeth that have broken into the root have to be removed. If you know already that you have a weak tooth that could break, have it attended to before it worsens. The sooner you get to the dentist, the better the chance of  saving the tooth.

Your at home steps:

1. Try to locate the piece that fell out and place it in a small baggie for safe keeping. Bring it with you to your appointment.
2. Rinse your mouth immediately with warm water to remove any small bits and pieces of tooth and other debris.
3. If you are bleeding form the tooth or mouth area, you can use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding.
4. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion. An anti-inflammatory may also control swelling and relieve pain.
5. You can still eat, but should chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your filling fell out. Choose softer foods and avoid those that are sharp or extreme in temperature.
6. As for brushing your teeth, you should try to keep the tooth as clean as possible to avoid added irritation, food impaction and plaque/debris buildup. You will want to brush gently with a very soft toothbrush and rinse with warm temperature water.
7. Do not attempt to sand off any sharp edges as you may do further damage to the tooth. Sharp edges can be annoying and bother your curious tongue, so if you have any orthodontic wax or can borrow some, just soften it between your fingers and apply it over the area. Chewing gum may be used also, but may not stick as well.
8. Do not attempt to glue any tooth or filling piece back into place. It will likely not stick and will cause additional work for your dentist.
9. Call your dentist

Crown fall out or becoming loose?

There are a few reasons why a dental crown may become loose and/or fall out such as underlying cavities, old and disintegrating cement, underlying broken tooth, injury/trauma, or the constant habit of grinding/clenching.

Your at home steps:

1. Wrap the crown in a piece of tissue or gauze then place it into a plastic container.

2. Do not attempt to clean off the crown or it may drop onto the floor or down the drain!

3. Rinse your mouth with warm water and spit out into a cup or bowl. This is done to ensure that there isn’t more pieces of tooth of crown in your mouth that you could swallow or aspirate. Retrieve any pieces you think may be a piece of tooth or crown and place in the plastic container.

4. Sometimes, your tooth is left with a sharp edge  when a crown falls off. Do not try to file it down yourself! If you happen to have any orthodontic wax that is used for braces, you can place it over the sharp edge until you get to the dentist.

5. Never, ever “glue” your crown back onto your tooth. Not only is glue not safe in the mouth, but you make our job more difficult when we have to try to remove the “glued” crown without causing further damage to the tooth or to surrounding teeth. Some patients have also been known to use sticky gums or foods to “glue” a crown in place. Not only do you run the risk of the crown being lost or swallowed, you are providing food for cavity-causing bacteria to further damage your tooth.

6. Same goes for any temporary cements that can sometimes be found in pharmacies. Our concern is that any re-cementation would be very temporary at best and could still leave you at risk for swallowing, choking, aspirating or the crown falling out and being lost. Additionally, self-cementing could cause your bite to be off, which in turn, may cause complications and harm to other teeth. Use these drug store cements or denture adhesive at your own risk!

7. You can still eat, but should chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your crown fell out. Choose softer foods and avoid those that are sharp or extreme in temperature.

8. As for brushing your teeth, you should try to keep the tooth that was crowned as clean as possible to avoid added irritation, food impaction and plaque/debris buildup. You will want to brush gently with a very soft toothbrush and rinse with warm temperature water.

9. See your dentist as soon as possible. Teeth move when they are not supported by adjacent teeth or biting against opposing teeth. Delaying treatment will cause your existing tooth to shift and your crown will likely no longer fit the new tooth position.

Severe toothache?

Toothaches are considered one of the worst pains you can experience! Cavities, infections, sinusitis, fractures and even getting something caught between your teeth can cause a lot of discomfort. It is very important to understand that pain caused by an infection should be attended to right away as infection can spread to other parts of your body. Obviously, getting to the dentist as soon as possible is recommended, but how can you find some comfort before your appointment?

 

Your at home steps:

1. If you suspect that something is stuck under your gums or between your teeth, try flossing the area gently to remove the offending item, but still see your dentist to examine the area and ensure that there isn’t a more serious issue developing.
2. You may also find relief rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
3. Applying a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion may give you additional relief.
4. DO NOT place aspirin directly on your tooth as it contains an acid that is strong enough to burn your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth.
5. Call your dentist

Tooth knocked out?

A whole tooth (crown and root) that has been knocked out (avulsed) can begin to die within 30 minutes so it is essential that you get to a dentist immediately. The chances of successful re-implantation decreases the longer you wait for treatment. If any other injuries sustained during injury are minor and do not require immediate medical attention, then get to a dentist as soon as possible. Have someone call them to explain what has happened and that you are on your way. If you have any doubt as to whether or not any other injuries sustained are serious, go to the nearest emergency department immediately. You should bring the tooth with you in a cup of cow’s milk just in case there is dental personnel on staff that can treat you while your other injuries are being attended to.

Your at home steps:

1. Only handle the tooth by the crown portion NOT the root so that you do not further damage the root’s attachment fibres. If the root has debris on it try to find a cup and fill it with some cow’s milk or water. Holding the crown, place the root portion of the tooth into the cup of liquid and wiggle the tooth back and forth to try to loosen and slough away the debris from the root surface. Do this ONLY if the root is dirty and do not scrub or use soup.
2. After cleaning, try to put the tooth back into the socket and hold it in place. If it is a child, adult supervision is critical so that they do not swallow the tooth. With a crying, flailing child, this can be near impossible, so use your discretion.
3. If you can’t place it back into the socket, then place it into a glass of cow’s milk or even the injured person’s saliva. Milk contains proteins, antibacterial substances and sugars to help the cells of the tooth and it’s surrounding tissues
4. Keep the tooth moist at all times.
5. There is also a kit available online called  Save-A-Tooth. Find it here through Amazon
6. If there is bleeding, use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding. No need to clean up around the face; you want to disturb the area as little as possible.
7. If you can not get to your dentist, go to the nearest dental office that is open.

 

 

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Loose tooth?

If you have sustained an injury that causes your tooth to loosen but NOT fall out you should:

Your at home steps:

1. Leave the tooth alone and do not put pressure on it.
2. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion.
3. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Call your dentist.

 

Jaw injury?

If you suspect that you have sustained an injury to your jaw, you will need to proceed to your nearest ER or urgent care with an x-ray department.

Your “on-the-way” steps:

1. Apply a cold compress to the injured area.
2. Keep your jaw as still as possible
3. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Many ERs do not have any dental personnel on staff, so you will need to see your dentist after you are discharged so that they can evaluate the area further for any dental damage such as broken teeth/roots, severed nerves, tooth socket widening, bone fragments, etc.

 

Suspect an abscess?

Dental abscesses can be life-threatening! Because abscesses are serious infections that can damage your oral health and spread to other parts of the body, you need to seek medical attention immediately! Even if the pain or swelling subsides, you still need to see your dentist right away as this type of infection does not go away without treatment. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with a gum or tooth infection include:

  • swelling
  • sever and/or radiating pain
  • foul odour
  • fever
  • tender or swollen lymph nodes
  • earache, headache, sinus pain
  • white pimple on gum
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • fatigue

Your at home care steps:

1. Do not try to break open or pop any pimple on your gum
2. Rinse with warn salt water
3. Take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Call your dentist.

 

Prevention

It has been our experience that most dental emergencies tend to be problems that had been growing for a while and have decided to show up just in time to ruin your good night sleep, weekend, holiday or vacation! This is why we always recommend preventative dental care every 6 months as the best way to detect and treat dental problems while they are usually small and simple to repair. Every year, we include a few days over the holidays to remain open in case you or family and friends need our help or need to complete any outstanding dental treatment before the end of the year.

 


Rather than researching home remedies online or taking advice from friends or friends, call your dentist first.
Only they can offer you the safest, “specific to you” advice on what you can do at home.

 


 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

Author: Your Smile Dental Care blog

Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates Family, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry 2 Convenient Locations to serve you and your family Oshawa & Toronto (905) 576-4537 905 5SMILES

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