Although no one expects to find themselves in a situation that requires immediate dental treatment, the reality is that mouth-related emergencies are fairly common. Whether it’s a broken tooth, a nagging toothache, or a swollen jaw, you or your children may need an emergency appointment with your dentist. In the time before you get into the office, though, the American Dental Association offers suggestions about how to treat emergencies at home:
- Broken tooth: Rinse mouth with warm water; apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Severely bitten lip or tongue: Gently clean with a cloth; apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the emergency room right away.
- Cracked tooth: Avoid any hot or cold beverages, as the tooth will be extremely sensitive to temperature. Do not chew on that side of the mouth. Call the dentist immediately.
- Broken jaw: Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Go to the dentist or emergency room right away.
- Knocked-out tooth: Gently rinse the tooth in water if it is dirty – do not scrub! If possible, hold the tooth in its socket and drive to the dentist immediately. Otherwise, some experts recommend keeping the tooth in milk until you arrive.
- Toothache: Rinse mouth with warm water; gently floss to remove any pain-causing debris caught between the teeth. If desired, use an over-the-counter pain reliever; however, do NOT apply aspirin directly to the gum, as it may burn the tissue. Call your dentist if the pain does not subside.
- Food or other objects caught between teeth: Gently use floss to remove the offending object. Never use a sharp object or cut your gums. If floss cannot solve the problem, call your dentist.
In all cases, it is best to contact a dentist in the event of a dental emergency. Most dentists, including the ones on your True Care Advantage discount dental plan, set aside time during their day to account for emergencies. When you call, explain your issue as thoroughly as possible so the dentist can be prepared for your arrival. Most of the time, the problem will be easily diagnosed, and the dentist will inform you of any needed follow-up appointments to address the issue. For instance, a nagging toothache may be caused by tooth decay that the dentist can remove and fill.