Health emergencies require immediate medical attention. Through personal experience or second-hand accounts, there are specific scenarios we are prepared for in the event we, or our loved ones, go through this type of situation. Whether a heart attack, a broken bone, dislocated shoulder, a fainting spell, or an allergy attack, our immediate response is to call 911, wait for responders, or hop into the car and drive to the nearest hospital.
But what happens when you suffer from a medical emergency concerning your mouth, gums, tongue, or teeth? They’re not as common as those mentioned above but are just as vital since we use them for drinking, eating, speaking, and breathing! What do you do? Before heading to your dentist, read on for helpful dental emergency tips for you and your family:
Types of Dental Emergencies
First, you need to understand what constitutes a dental emergency. Here’s a list of common concerns and when to seek the help of emergency dental services:
1. Toothache: Toothaches manifest as a throbbing sensation in the gum socket and tooth when they come in contact with food or not. Sometimes, swelling becomes visible on the cheek and mouth. Take painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to numb the pain temporarily.
2. Bleeding: Bleeding gums and teeth could be signs of acute – or even severe – gum disease. See an emergency dental service immediately.
3. Bruised Gums, Tongue, or Lips: Use an ice pack if the bruise shows externally or keep an ice cube in your mouth to lessen the swelling. If the swelling persists, see your dentist.
4. Abscess: This infection seeps into the tooth’s root and inner gums that manifests through sensations of fullness and heaviness in the area. Think of it like a pimple where the abscess is the pus that has to be popped or, in this case, drained.
You need to see a dentist as only they have the right tools to drain the abscess. In the meantime, rinse with a mild solution of saltwater for temporary relief.
5. Cracked or Broken Teeth: You will feel a tooth crack or break due to the nerves in the gums and within the bone. Rinse your mouth with warm water to disinfect, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
In either case, it is imperative to see your dentist, so you prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.
These guidelines will come in handy when you experience any of the emergencies listed above:
- Take a deep breath: Avoid panicking as that is the worst response in the heat of the moment. Breath deeply five to seven times to calm down before you…
- Assess the situation: Go to the nearest mirror and look at your mouth. Are your gums bleeding? Is your tooth aching or chipped? Do you see anything strange? Note these observations on your smartphone before proceeding to the next steps.
- Keep the chipped tooth: If you have a chipped tooth, store the broken part in a Ziploc bag (if you can find it).
- Contact your dentist: Once you have assessed what happened (and stored your chipped tooth), immediately call an emergency dental service for an appointment in the next hour, first thing in the morning, or first thing next week. Remember, your dentist is qualified to handle these medical situations. Do not attempt to Google or YouTube your way out of this.
One Last Note
We urge you to follow these helpful tips to the letter. Our mouths are vital to communication, survival, and self-esteem. Do not resort to DIY methods to address these emergencies. See a dental professional and get the right solutions for your oral hygiene.
Whenever you need emergency dental services, remember to book an appointment with Smart Dental Care! We practice dentistry in Holladay, Utah, dealing with cracked teeth, bleeding gums, and more! We bring back your natural smile with dentures, whitening, and beyond!