Dental emergency guide

Click here to view the full magazine article

Regular dental care helps prevent inconvenient dental emergencies. However, dental emergencies can and do occur. Listed here are some of the more common dental emergencies and what you can do until you can get to the dentist's office A good rule of thumb: if it hurts, call to schedule an appointment right away.

Toothache/Sensitive Teeth

A toothache or a sensitive tooth can be due to a chipped tooth, a broken filling, decay or an infected or dying nerve. Over-the-counter pain relief medication can temporarily relieve the discomfort. Contact us for an appointment as soon as you notice the problem. Slight pain, if left untreated, can progress into facial or oral swelling and severe pain.

Broken Tooth

Teeth with large fillings can easily break or fracture. Call us as soon as possible to have the tooth evaluated and restored. If the broken tooth is not treated, more serious problems can develop. Broken teeth may or may not be sensitive to air and temperature changes. Sensitivity and pain are not necessarily an indication of how badly the tooth is damaged.

Permanent Tooth Knocked Out

Try to place the tooth back into position immediately. If you are unable to reposition the tooth, the next best option is to keep it in the side of the mouth if it can be done safely. If the tooth has been knocked out of the mouth and is dirty, it can be briefl y rinsed under clean water prior to repositioning it in the mouth but do not try to scrub it clean. Scrubbing the tooth could remove important cells and tissues off of the tooth. If unable to keep the tooth in the mouth, place it in milk. Get the tooth and patient to us immediately. The faster the tooth can be repositioned, the better the odds that the tooth can be saved. Time is crucial.

Object Stuck Between Teeth

Use dental floss to gently remove the object. Do not use sharp or pointed objects to push or pry the object from between your teeth. If the object does not come out easily, come to us for help.

Orthodontic Problems

If an appliance is loose, take the patient to the orthodontist. If a sharp wire is exposed, cover it with a piece of wax, gum, a small cotton ballanything to keep the sharp end from poking into the soft tissues.

Swollen Gums

Swollen gums are a sign of an infection. The infection may be caused by a dying nerve inside the tooth or a periodontal (gum) problem. See us as soon as possible. The swelling may or may not be accompanied by pain. Either way, it needs immediate attention.

Source: This information was provided by Little People's Dental, 1268 West South Jordan Parkway , Suite 101, South Jordan, UT 84095 Telephone: 801-446-8007

Return to March 2008 list of articles