Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth
Dental emergencies can happen at any time. You could bite into a hard food and crack a tooth, or fall and knock out your front teeth. No matter the emergency, there are steps you can take to prevent pain and salvage your teeth.
First, call a dentist who handles emergencies. They will schedule you in as soon as possible to fix your teeth.
Next, follow these steps for different emergencies to care for your damaged teeth.
Rinse your mouth with warm water, then floss your teeth. There may be food lodged between your teeth that is causing the pain.
Take an over-the-counter pain medication, but do not put the medication directly on the sore area—it can burn your gums.
For a swollen mouth, apply an ice pack to your cheek. Do not apply heat.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
Save any broken pieces if possible. Rinse your mouth with warm water. Apply a gauze for 10 minutes to the injured area if there is bleeding. Also, apply cold to the injured area to prevent swelling and relieve pain.
Pick up the knocked-out tooth by the crown (the top)—do not touch the roots. If the roots are dirty, rinse them off with water, but do not touch or scrub them. You can try to put the tooth back in place in the right direction, but don’t force it.
If it won’t go back in, place the tooth in a small container with milk to bring to the dentist. If you don’t have milk, use water and a pinch of salt, or cell-growth-medium products like Save-a-Tooth.
There is a chance the tooth will take root again, especially if you get to your dentist within the hour.
Take an over-the-counter pain medication. Also, apply cold to the cheek or mouth outside of the injured area.
Objects Stuck Between Teeth
Try using dental floss to dislodge the object. If that doesn’t work, you will have to visit your dentist. Don’t use sharp instruments to remove the object. These can damage your teeth and gums, and end up causing a more severe and painful dental emergency.
To prevent pain, place a piece of sugar-free gum in the tooth with the lost filling. Gum with sugar will only cause pain. Gum will protect the filling hole until you get to your dentist.
Your dentist will replace the crown for you. But in the meantime, apply clove oil to the area with a cotton swab to ease any pain. Try placing the crown back on top of the tooth, using dental cement, dental adhesive, or toothpaste. Don’t use glue, especially super glue.
If you notice a painful pimple-like swelling on your gums, you may have an abscess. This is an infection that is usually around the root of a tooth or in a space between the teeth and gums.
Abscesses need immediate treatment to avoid further pain and to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of your body.
Before your emergency dentist visit, rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution to ease the pain and swelling.
Keep these tips in mind and visit your dentist as soon as possible if you have a dental emergency.