How to Handle a Dental Emergency
From knocked out teeth to lost crowns or fillings, toothache and abscesses, most of us will experience a dental emergency at some time in our lives. The sensible thing to do is to see your local emergency dentist in Vancouver, BC as soon as possible, but until then, you will need a little first aid know-how to tide you over.
1. Knocked out or loosened teeth
If a tooth is knocked out or loosened owing to a fall or a collision, it may be possible to save the original tooth provided you get to a dentist as soon as you can. The sooner you go, the better the chances of saving the tooth.
In the meanwhile, begin by rinsing your mouth out with warm water or a mild saline solution to clean the damaged area. If the tooth has been altogether knocked out, you will need to preserve it until the emergency dentist has seen you.
Try pressing it into the empty gum socket, but if it does not slip in easily, don’t try to force it. Instead, place the tooth in milk to keep it ‘alive’, and if you don’t have any milk handy, pop it into your own mouth, placing it between teeth and lip. You can use a cold compress applied to your face to relieve pain and reduce swelling, but don’t place ice directly on the wound.
2. Teeth that crack or break
If pieces of tooth break off, it’s worth saving them so that your dentist can check if the original pieces can be re-bonded to the tooth. Rinse your mouth with warm water with the possible addition of a small amount of salt and call your dentist for an emergency appointment. Once again, a cold compress can be used to reduce inflammation.
3. Toothache and objects stuck between teeth
First try rinsing your mouth out and flossing gently in case the pain is being caused by an object lodged between the teeth. Never use a toothpick. You can take a painkiller, but don’t leave it to dissolve on your tooth. A little clove oil applied to the area may help to ease the pain until you can get to the dentist, and a cold compress on your face can reduce swelling.
4. When a filling falls out
Rinse out your mouth thoroughly. You can use a piece of sugar-free gum to plug the exposed cavity and to prevent sharp edges from cutting your tongue.
5. Snapped wires or braces
If there are uncomfortable bits of loose wire, don’t try to cut them off, you could accidently swallow or choke on them, precipitating an even more serious emergency! The eraser found on the back of a pencil is a gentle tool that you can use to try and push the wire into a more comfortable position. Once again, sugar-free gum can be used to cover the sharp end until the dentist sees you.
6. How to stop bleeding
Injuries inside the mouth often bleed profusely. Use a piece of medical gauze and apply a light but firm pressure. Hold the gauze in place until the bleeding stops. If you don’t have gauze handy, a clean teabag or coffee filter paper will do.
You can take painkillers, but remember that they are not a cure and that abscesses can be dangerous. See a dentist or even a doctor as soon as you can.