Dental Emergencies! What to Know to Be Prepared.

young african american woman suffering from ear or tooth pain in bedroom with closed eyes

No one likes an emergency, especially of the dental variety. They can be stressful and nerve-wrecking especially if you don’t know what to do in any given situation. We prepared a few common dental emergencies below so you can be prepared in case you ever find yourself in one of these situations. Being prepared can help you remain calm and under control and can alleviate some of the stress of the situation. Plus, knowing what to do in some cases can actually be the difference in whether or not we can save a tooth! 

What to do with a Crack, Chipped or Broken Tooth

Trauma to the mouth due to an accident or fall can sometimes lead to a cracked, chipped or broken tooth. When this occurs, start by rinsing the area with lukewarm water. Be sure to recover any fragments of the tooth you can before rinsing so you don’t swallow them. If any bleeding is occuring, apply a sterile piece of gauze, if available, with pressure to the site of the injury. Then, apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. 

What to do if You Cut Your Tongue, Lip or Inner Cheek 

Sometimes with falls, or especially in injuries related to sports, the tongues, lip or inner cheek can become injured. When this soft tissue injury occurs there can be a lot of blood as blood flow to this area is heavy. If a cut occurs on your tongue, lip or inner cheek, take a piece of clean, sterile gauze and apply it firmly to the cut. Once you have gotten the bleeding a little more under control, try to look and see how deep the cut is. If it looks deep, head to the emergency room right away. The same applies if the bleeding does not stop with firm pressure after a few minutes. 

What to do if Your Tooth is Loose

If you or the person injured is over the age of 10 and has all of their adult teeth, their tooth should never be loose. So if a tooth is loose as a result of an injury this qualifies as a dental emergency and they need to be seen asap. Don’t wait. If the tooth falls out, the countdown  begins for how long we have to save the tooth and it’s not very long. In many cases, we have 30 minutes to save a lost tooth. 

What to do if You Lose a Tooth

If you lose a tooth, do NOT touch the root if at all possible. Pick the tooth up carefully, rinse it off VERY briefly in a bowl of clean, lukewarm water and try to place it gently back into place. The important thing, above all else, is for the root to remain moist. Preferably that occurs in the mouth, but if that isn’t possible, place it in cold milk and seek care immediately! 

Now that we have gone over some of the most common dental emergencies, hopefully you feel more prepared to handle them if you should ever find yourself in one of these situations. If you find yourself facing a dental emergency please call our emergency line at 714-604-4143. Better yet, save the number in your phone so you have it if a situation arises.