What To Do If You Have A Dental Emergency

Girl suffering from tooth pain needs emergency dental care

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency in Camas, WA, Radiance Dental is here to help. Dental emergencies can be extremely painful, not to mention scary at times. Fortunately, our dental office is equipped to handle dental emergencies at a moment’s notice. Our main goal is to get you out of pain as quickly as possible, then address the issue at hand (such as a chipped tooth) so that you can get back to work or school. 

Depending on the type of dental emergency that you’re experiencing, here are some important tips to keep in mind: 

Use a Cold Compress

To minimize discomfort, apply a cold (or cool) compress to that side of your face for 20 minutes at a time. Give yourself a 10-20 minute break between. The cold temperature will help minimize swelling, which in turn can help ease discomfort. 

Take the Right Pain Reliever

Most tooth pain is caused by inflammation somewhere in your mouth. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin or ibuprofen is the best medicine to have on hand. Always take it as directed. 

Don’t Delay Treatment Even if You Feel Better

One important thing to remember is that even if symptoms tend to subside with time, dental infections (such as tooth decay, gum disease, or abscessed teeth) do not improve on their own. Those conditions can only get worse. For example, a smaller cavity that only needs a filling today might actually require a root canal and a crown six months from now if it’s left untreated. The decay cannot get smaller, and it will only spread. 

Knocked-out Teeth

If you knock out a permanent tooth, you must act quickly to save it. The most important thing to do with a knocked-out tooth is to avoid touching the root and to keep it moist. If there’s visible dirt, you can gently rinse it under the tap. Otherwise, we recommend trying to re-insert it into the socket as quickly as possible. Do not force it in. If it won’t go back, follow the directions for a broken tooth (see below.) Then, try to get an appointment with our dental team within the next 1-2 hours.

Chipped Teeth 

Broken or chipped teeth are one of the most common dental emergencies we see. Between accidents on the ball field to slipping in the bathroom, adults and kids alike are prone to broken teeth

The most important thing to do for a chipped tooth is to try to locate the fragment as quickly as possible. If it’s extremely tiny, it may be easier for our dentist to bond over that area. Larger tooth fragments can sometimes be reattached to your tooth.

In the instance of a chipped or knocked-out tooth, the most important thing to do is keep it moist. Pour contact solution, saline, fresh milk, or tap water with a pinch of salt into a sealed container, then place the tooth into the container and make sure it’s completely submerged. You need to see your dentist for an emergency appointment within the next 1-2 hours. 

Abscessed Teeth

Many dental emergencies are caused by a tooth or gum abscess. The dental pain can be extremely uncomfortable or might even come and go at the most random times. But an abscessed tooth could potentially become life-threatening if it’s left untreated. So, if you see a small pimple on your gums next to a tooth, be sure to let our Camas emergency dentist know about it at your earliest opportunity. 

Broken Dental Work

A cracked tooth filling, crown, or bridge usually needs to be tended to at your earliest convenience. Until you get to our dentist’s office, make sure you are not biting or chewing on that side of your mouth. Otherwise, it can lead to additional dental emergencies, such as cracked teeth that are no longer restorable. 

Depending on why your restoration broke off, it may need to be replaced entirely. Crowns or bridges can occasionally be re-cemented, depending on what caused them to come off in the first place. To keep them safe, store them in a zip-top bag and bring them with you to your emergency dental appointment. 

Denture Repairs

A cracked or broken denture is a common dental emergency we see. Whatever you do, do not try to repair your denture at home with store-bought supplies like glues or adhesives. The chemical reactions can permanently alter the acrylic, not to mention cause tissue burns inside of your mouth. 

Depending on the extent of your denture damage, we may be able to provide a permanent or temporary repair or work with you to replace your prosthesis as quickly as possible. 

Bleeding Gums or Swelling

Mild bleeding and swelling can usually be managed with warm salt water rinses or applying light pressure with a clean piece of gauze. You may want to take a piece of dental floss and run it through that space to remove any packed food debris. Sometimes it can also be helpful to tie a small knot in your floss and gently pull it through that space. If the irritation is caused by impacted food, symptoms usually improve within a few days of removing the debris. However, there could still be an area of pocketing (caused by gum disease) that requires dental treatment. 

When to Go to the Hospital Emergency Room 

If you’re experiencing severe facial swelling, uncontrollable bleeding, or a possible broken jaw, head straight to the nearest emergency room. But do not go to the hospital for something like an abscess, tooth pain, or broken tooth, as medical personnel do not have dental equipment available to treat those types of concerns. 

See a Dentist Immediately

If you’re in pain and unable to eat normally or go to work, you need to call your dentist. At Radiance Dental, we offer emergency dental care for all ages, including new patients. Most common dental emergencies are seen on the same day, when possible. 

For urgent dental care or an emergency dental appointment, call our Camas, WA emergency dentist today at (360) 844-2141

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