A Guide to Preventing and Handling Common Dental Emergencies

You take care of your family’s teeth by making sure that everyone brushes, flosses and goes to those important checkups. However, you’re not quite confident that you know what to do if someone experiences a dental emergency. After all, the thought of a knocked out tooth is enough to make your heart start racing.

Fortunately, most major dental problems are preventable with regular exams and cleanings. Yet surprises can happen, and all it takes is one bad fall or a ball hitting your child’s mouth to send them running to you with serious pain. Prepare for emergencies beforehand using these best practices for family dental care.

Focus On Preventing Oral Injuries

There are many ways to prevent having a dental emergency in the first place. For instance, having small cavities restored early prevents them from growing into larger ones that generate sensitivity. It is also important to avoid habits such as chewing on hard objects that can lead to chips and cracks in the enamel.

Kids are especially vulnerable to dental injuries because of their active lifestyle. Remind your kids to wear a mouth guard during their sports activities, and supervise activities such as jumping on a trampoline and riding a bike when falls are more common.

Consider the Level of Pain

The pain a person experiences from a tooth or gum injury can vary from one person to another. For some people, a minor cavity can feel intensely painful, while another person may not notice it at all. As a general rule, a dentist should see a person with any pain that does not respond to over-the-counter treatments as soon as possible.

For the most part, dental pain can wait until the next available appointment time, but intense, throbbing pain that interferes with the ability to carry on normally qualifies as an emergency. This is especially true if signs of infection are present such as redness, swelling or a pus-filled bubble anywhere in the mouth.

Know How to Handle Soft Tissue Injuries

At some point, everyone has received a minor injury to their cheeks or gums from a sharp chip or popcorn kernel. However, major cuts or lacerations are a dental emergency. To assess the damage, rinse the mouth out with warm water. If the cut is deep or won’t stop bleeding, contact your emergency dentist for an appointment.

Evaluate a Chipped Tooth

Trauma to the mouth sometimes results in a chipped tooth, and these can range from barely noticeable to an entire corner of your front tooth. For the most part, a chipped tooth that does not cause too much emotional or physical distress can wait a day or two until you can get in for a regular appointment.

Your dentist may prefer for you to come in sooner if the chip is extremely large or you are worried that it might have come close to the pulp. A chipped tooth that is causing pain may be a sign that it is deeper than you think, and your dentist should see this as soon as possible.

Preserve a Knocked Out Tooth

Contrary to what you might have heard, baby teeth that get knocked out should still be considered an emergency. This is because pieces of the tooth may still remain in the gums, or the impact may have damaged the adult tooth hiding beneath the baby tooth.

When an adult tooth has been knocked out, prompt dental care can sometimes preserve the tooth. Try to find the tooth, and place it in a glass of milk or warm water until you can reach the dentist. If you can hold it in the original socket in your mouth, do so.

Knowing how to handle a dental emergency gives you the best chance for saving your or your loved one’s smile. When dental pain or an injury strikes, contact the dental clinic of Travis Wilson D.M.D today so that you don’t have a delay in your care.

Dental Emergency — Boy at the Clinic in Owensboro, KY