What to Do In a Dental Emergency
Recent years have seen a steady increase in emergency room visits for dental problems by people in rural areas. Reports state that most patients who go to the ER for dental emergencies come from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds and are without dental insurance. There’s no doubt dental pain and injuries require immediate treatment, but ERs are usually very limited in the dental care they provide. More often than not, patients with dental emergencies from our area are given pain medication and a referral to local Placerville dentists. Therefore, it’s important to know what to do when confronted with a dental emergency. As with any emergency, the most important thing to do is act fast, but remain calm. Preparation and a little education goes a long way towards saving a tooth when it’s knocked out at a baseball game or when your mouth is damaged in an accident.
Do you have an emergency kit at home or in your car? If so, add a few items to be ready in case your mouth needs fast treatment. Make sure you have a small container with a lid, saline solution, gauze and our local Placerville dental office phone number, 530-295-8000. Receiving professional emergency dental care as soon as possible is the best thing to do and you generally won’t find it in the emergency room!
Damaged Tongue and Mouth Tissues
Damage to your tongue, cheeks or lips likely means there’s bleeding. If your cheeks or tongue are cut or punctured, use gauze or a clean towel to stop any blood flow. If your mouth is still bleeding after a few minutes of applying firm pressure, you need to call for help. In some instances, professional treatment and stitches are necessary to aid healing. If you are not bleeding, clean your tongue or mouth with a clean and wet soft cloth or gauze. Use an ice pack to limit swelling. If your pain and swelling doesn’t go away, call us to take the next step.
Not too many things are more awful than a toothache and when you have one it’s hard to focus on anything else. Most patients who visit the ER have complications due to untreated cavities. If you have a toothache, brush and floss gently. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water and use cold packs to reduce any pain or swelling. Take some Tylenol or another OTC pain medication and call the Placerville Dentistry Group immediately! Toothache is awful and means there is a serious problem (usually an infection that needs professional attention).
Knocked Out or Loose Teeth
If you or a loved one gets a tooth totally knocked out, do not wait to call us. Getting treatment within an hour can save your tooth so that it will re-implant and heal. If you have a knocked out tooth do the following:
- Remain calm.
- Find the tooth.
- Carefully clean the knocked out tooth with water. Be gentle to avoid damage to the tooth’s root.
- Keep the tooth moist for successful re-implantation. Do this either by putting the tooth back in its socket, or in your mouth between your cheek and gums (just be careful not to swallow it). Moist gauze or a tea bag works well to stabilize the tooth on the way to receive treatment. Don’t try to force the tooth back in place — that would not only be really painful, but it could also damage the tooth’s socket and roots. If you can’t put it in your mouth, wrap the tooth in a packet of clean gauze soaked in water or saline.
Broken or Chipped Teeth
Chipped or fractured teeth can only be repaired with prompt and quality dental care from our Placerville dentists. If possible, recover the chipped or broken part of the tooth and save it in a moist piece of gauze or cloth. Rinse your mouth with water and call us for immediate treatment. Depending on the type of damage and the situation, the tooth chip may be reattached and smoothed out with bonding material, or a crown may be recommended to stabilize and preserve the remaining part of the tooth. If the tooth has root damage, additional care with endodontic procedures is likely necessary.
The Placerville Dental Group is available to provide care and advice whenever you need it. For patients without dental insurance, we have financing available so that you receive prompt attention when you need it most, without having to go to the ER. Save our number and call us for quality care you can rely on!