Not every unexpected dental occurrence warrants the categorization of emergency. However, here are four situations where it’s definitely best to get in to see a dentist right away, and what you should do in the meantime.
1. Knocked Out Tooth
As upsetting as it is painful, a knocked out tooth requires you to have a cool head and a speedy response if you hope to save it. You’ll need to get help within 60 minutes or less. Pick up the tooth by the crown (never the root) and gently rinse it in water. If you can, place it back in the socket and gingerly bite down to help secure it in place. If you can’t, place it in a clean container with milk. You can take acetaminophen for pain but should avoid aspirin.
2. Loose or Displaced Teeth
Painful or not, displaced teeth require immediate attention to secure them back in place. If you hesitate, your bite may be permanently affected and could cause other complications. Your dentist may be able to secure them back into position and thereby protect your smile from irreversible damage.
3. Cracked or Fractured Teeth
While a chip may not require immediate care, a crack almost always does because the internal layers of your tooth are likely impacted, making the situation more serious. The faster you can get into a dental chair, the more probable it is that the tooth can be saved.
An abscessed tooth is no laughing matter; it may even be life-threatening. The raging pain will be your first clue, with other indications being inflamed gums and swelling in the mouth.
Strategies to Avoid Dental Disasters
Sometimes all that’s needed to avoid a trip to the emergency dentist is a little forethought and planning. Not every situation can be prevented, but in many cases, the scenarios we see could have been thwarted by doing one of the following things.
- Develop and maintain a practice of visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
- Wear a mouthguard while participating in sports activities.
- Avoid chewing on overly hard items, especially ice and non-food substances.
- Seek advice from an experienced dentist immediately if you begin to feel discomfort