The average person eats 3 meals a day, surely with a snack here and there. Over the course of a year, or even a life-time, that’s quite a lot of activity for an adult’s set of teeth. Unfortunately we only get one set, so it’s important to handle unexpected dental emergencies with care.
Here at Garden Grove Dental Arts, we’re experienced emergency dentists, located in Anaheim and we have a couple tips that can help you best handle every-day dental emergencies for a smile that lasts longer.
From a toothache to a broken jaw, common dental emergencies can occur anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re involved with a sports team or simply eating popcorn at the movies, biting or bumping into something you didn’t know was there can quickly and unexpectedly do damage to your teeth.
While prevention is the best medicine, read on to learn what to do in some of the most common dental emergencies.
A bitten lip or tongue
This particular “emergency” isn’t usually serious, but can .sometimes require stitches. Simply apply pressure and a cold compress to first stop the bleeding, and reduce the swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to your nearest hospital emergency room.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
From skateboarding to eating hard candy, it’s not exactly hard to chip or break a tooth. Should this uncomfortable and potentially painful occurrence happen to you, don’t panic — your teeth can be fixed. First, rinse your mouth out with warm water to clean the affected area. Use a cold compress to control swelling and call your dentist immediately. If possible, recovering the broken piece of tooth can give your dentist the opportunity to re-attach it to your original tooth.
A Broken Jaw
A broken jaw is a serious medical and dental incident that requires immediate attention from a doctor. If your jaw is broken, you are likely experiencing pain and swelling and bleeding from your mouth. With a broken jaw, there is also the potential that your teeth are damaged as well. To control the swelling, apply cold as quickly as possible with an ice pack or bag of frozen peas or beans. Stabilize your jaw by wrapping a small towel beneath your jaw and tied around your head. Immediately go to your dentist or hospital emergency department.
Knocked out Teeth
A fast, sudden impact to your teeth can cause one or more of them to be knocked completely from your mouth. This often occurs in contact sports and in many unexpected accidents. According to the ADA, in the event that one of your teeth is knocked out, hold the tooth by the crown (the “sharp” end) and rinse the root (the “Gum” end) without removing any of the root tissue attached to it. If you can (and it doesn’t hurt too much), delicately insert the tooth into its socket. As an alternative, ensure the tooth and attached roots stay moist by placing it in a container filled with saliva or milk. Contact your dentist immediately.
Causes of a toothache can range from a tooth abscess or fracture to a damaged filling, habitual tooth grinding, or infected gums. If you get a toothache, the first thing you should do is rinse your mouth with warm water, followed by gently flossing your teeth to ensure there is no food stuck between your teeth. This process also helps pinpoint specific sources of pain. If you experience a persistent toothache, contact your dentist. Typical solutions for a toothache can range from antibiotics to more involved dental procedures such as a filling , root canal or the creation of a custom mouth guard to prevent grinding.
Something’s Caught in Your Teeth
Everyone knows the feeling: you’ve got something caught in your teeth and you don’t have access to any floss. Above all else, avoid reaching for the nearest sharp object. Using something sharp to pick your teeth could elevate this very minor emergency into something more serious — like a chipped tooth. If dental floss doesn’t work to dislodge something from your teeth, call your dentist.