a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving or losing a
tooth. Whether you are away on a trip, at home or involved in outdoor
activities, it's smart to be prepared for any kind of dental emergency.
Time is crucial in
saving teeth. If your tooth or your child's tooth has been fractured,
or if the tooth has been knocked out, you need to get to a dentist's office
as soon as possible.
on how to handle common dental emergencies
- It is important
to retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown, and rinse off the root
of the tooth if it is dirty.
- Do not scrub
it or remove any attached tissue fragments. The tissue on the root
(ligamentum flavum) is needed for the tooth to fuse with the tooth
- If possible,
put the tooth back in it's socket. If that is not possible, put it
in a container with milk or water and then get to your dentist as
soon as possible.
- Rinse your mouth
with warm water to keep the area clean.
- Use cold compresses
on the area to keep the swelling down, and get to your dentist's office
quickly. Sealing of exposed dentin or pulp minimizes chance of infection
and decreases pain.
Tongue or Lip
Clean the area gently
with a cloth and then apply cold compresses to reduce the swelling.
If the bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
Lacerations of your lip, tongue or mouth may require cleaning and suture
(stitch). Such repairs are often done by medical doctors (MD's).
Sutures cannot be
placed if a wound is more than 12 hours old in most circumstances because
the edges will no longer stick together. Therefore, it is important
to have a cut checked out as soon as possible (preferably within the
first 6 hours).
Caught Between the Teeth
Try to gently remove
the object with dental floss and avoid damaging the gums. Do not use
a sharp instrument. The best item to use is a plastic toothpick that
has an angulated tip. If not successful in removing the object, visit
The most common
complaints associated with a toothache include:
- that the tooth
is sensitive to hot or cold liquids or foods or to sweets
- throbbing pain
- sometimes there
is referred pain (pain from one area that is felt somewhere else).
An example would be an infected tooth that causes ear pain.
Rinse your mouth
with warm water to clean out the area. Make sure there is no food or
any other object lodged around the tooth. Use dental floss to clean
the area thoroughly.
aspirin or any other painkiller on the gums or around the painful tooth
because it can burn the gums, thus causing more harm than good.
anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naprosyn,...) or Tylenol
may give some pain relief. However, these medications cannot treat the
cause of the pain. For this you will need to see a dentist
Should You Do ?
Your tooth hurts,
it throbs and is sensitive to hot or cold.
You can't lie down because it hurts.
You can't chew because it hurts.
What should you do?
obvious answer is to visit your dentist!
will you be asked if you have a toothache and visit your dentist
- How long has it
- What makes it hurt
- How much does it
- Have you been taking
anything for the pain ?
The dentist or
the assistant will ask you those questions to determine what type
of emergency treatment will be required.
When you arrive
at the dentist's office, he or she will do an oral examination to
see which tooth is bothering you and then diagnose the source of the
pain. Your dentist may also want to take x-rays to help in the diagnosis.
Treatment can then begin to alleviate the pain and address the problem.
Some of the common
reasons for a toothache include decay, periodontal (gum) disease,
or physical trauma such as being hit on the mouth with a baseball
or hockey stick.
if I cannot afford a Dentist?
Low cost or free
dental clinics are available in most communities. They may not be accessible
24 hours a day. Unfortunately, some people are unable to afford immediate
dental care and do not have access to 24 hour dental care.
In these situations
the only alternative is go to a hospital emergency room. Most hospitals
do not have a dental specialist on call and care is not free; however,
all emergency departments in the United States are required by law to
provide a basic medical exam regardless of ability to pay. You will
receive an medical evaluation and treatment without having to pay first.
Although Emergency Room Doctors are limited in what they can do for
your teeth (they are not Dentists), they can treat your pain and recognize
serious dental infections that must be treated immediately.
Emergencies" from American Dental Association @ http://www.ada.org
Emergencies" from Dr. Deepak Vaswani @ http://members.rediff.com/deepakvaswani/index.htm
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