Problems with your mouth or teeth can occur suddenly. You might be injured playing a sport, eating, or even just while doing a seemingly harmless activity. You should know what types of dental problems are considered emergencies, and what to do while waiting to see your dentist. Quick action can make a big difference in saving a tooth, or limiting damage to your mouth or face.
What is considered an emergency?
Not every dental problem must be treated as an emergency, but some do require professional treatment as soon as possible. This includes a broken or knocked out tooth, lost crowns and fillings, severe toothache, infection, and injuries to the soft tissues of your mouth.
What should I do?
See your dentist as soon as possible to treat the problem and prevent further damage. Here are some steps to take if you experience any of the following common dental emergencies:
- Severe toothache – rinse your mouth with warm water and floss to remove trapped food.
- Swelling – apply a cold compress on the outside of the swollen area. Do not place any painkiller or aspirin against your gums, because it can burn your gum tissue.
- Chipped or broken tooth – if possible, save the piece that has broken off. Rinse both the piece and your mouth with warm water. If it is bleeding, hold gauze on the area. Apply a cold compress to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Lost filling – apply dental cement from your drugstore to fill the hollow area until you can see your dentist. Or, try placing a bit of sugarless gum into the area.
- Lost crown –try to replace the crown on your tooth and hold it in place temporarily with dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste.
- Abscess – infections in your mouth can become abscessed, which is a serious condition. Rinse with warm salt water and see your dentist immediately.
- Soft tissue injuries – treat damage to your gums, cheeks, tongue and lips by rinsing with warm salty water. Hold gauze to the specific area to control bleeding, and hold a cold pack to the external area.
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