It’s a beautiful spring day, and you have plans to drive down Lakeshore Boulevard to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. As you’re preparing to leave your house, you’re suddenly struck with a strong pain that shoots up one side of your face. You’ve got a full-fledged dental emergency – a toothache, but what should you do? Your local dentist is weighing in to answer that question and identify what to do for other traumatic situations.
What Classifies as a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is any situation that causes a sudden negative change in the condition of your oral health and requires immediate attention. In these unfortunate moments, there are two steps that must be taken immediately:
- Calm Yourself – It’s important to not panic when an emergency happens. This is because time is of the essence. Thus, your decisions need to be thought out and purposeful. So take a deep breath and then execute.
- Contact Your Dentist – After you’ve calmed yourself, reach out to your dentist’s office and let the staff know what’s going on, so they can walk you through the next steps.
What Can I Do at Home?
Until you can be seen by your dentist, here are some instructions on what to do for some of the more common dental emergencies:
- Toothache – A toothache is usually the result of a bacterial infection that has reached a crescendo. For temporary relief, you can apply ice to the outside of your face where the pain is and take up to 600mg of ibuprofen.
- Avulsed (Knocked Out Tooth) – If a tooth is knocked out, the first thing to do is wash your hands and then grab it by the crown, the rounded portion. Then, carefully reinsert it in its proper place until you can be seen by your emergency dentist.
- Broken, Chipped, Cracked Tooth – When a tooth is broken, chipped or cracked, you may experience some temporary sensitivity in that area. Usually, though, your saliva will help to numb the damaged area within the next few hours. Still, you want to be sure not to chew any food on that side of your mouth.
When You Should Go to the Emergency Room (ER)
If you are experiencing perfuse bleeding from the mouth, you should head to your nearest ER to be checked out immediately. Also, if you’ve fallen or taken a major blow to the face that is causing severe jaw pain, you need to be examined to make sure that you don’t have a broken jaw.
Now that you’re better prepared to handle a dental emergency, you can feel confident that you’ll make the right decisions if you find yourself in any of these unfortunate situations. It’s also comforting to know that your local dentist is just a phone call away.
About the Author
A graduate of Creighton University Dental School, Dr. Tim Stirneman has over 26 years of experience practicing dentistry. Throughout his professional career, he has also completed hundreds of hours of continuing education to ensure that his patients get the best care. If you find yourself in a dental emergency, you can locate Dr. Stirneman at Compassionate Dental Care and learn more about him through his website.