Any injury to the teeth or gums can be serious and should not be ignored. Understanding what types of oral health issues require emergency dental care can help you stay calm in serious situations and protect your oral health. It can also help you avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room. Some oral injuries require immediate treatment, such as a knocked out tooth, while others can wait until normal business hours. For example, there is no need to rush to urgent care over a lost filling.
What to Do FOR A KNOCKED OUT TOOTH
Many of the conditions that lead to a gummy smile are hereditary. If a close family member has a gummy smile, there is a much higher chance that you will as well.
Gummy smiles also tend to be more prevalent in women than in men.
Knocking out a permanent tooth is one of the most serious dental emergencies. If you act quickly, there is a good possibility of saving the tooth. Your dentist needs to replace the tooth in the gums as soon as possible after the injury so that the bone can reattach to the tooth root.
To protect your tooth until you can see your dentist:
- Avoid touching any part of the tooth that was under the gum
- Handle the tooth carefully
- If the tooth is dirty, hold the upper part and rinse it with milk. You can also use water if no milk is available
- Do not wipe the tooth with a washcloth or other fabric
- Keep the tooth moist. Store the tooth in a glass of milk, between your cheek and gum, or in a cup with saliva
You can also try to replace the tooth into its socket in the gums. Make sure it is facing the correct way first, but do not try to force it into place. If it does not easily slip into place, keep it moist and go to your dentist as soon as possible.
What to DoFOR A BROKEN TOOTH
Chips, cracks, fractures, or breaks can result in serious damage to your oral health. However, they may not need immediate dental care. Call your dentist’s office if you break a tooth and the staff can determine whether your symptoms require emergency care. Typically, they will try to get you into the office the same day.
In some cases, you may only notice a chip or crack because of a sharp edge on your tooth. In others, the fracture may expose or damage nerves, leading to dental sensitivity, discomfort, or pain. Different types of breaks require different care.
What to Do ABOUT A LOST FILLING OR CROWN
Sometimes, dental fillings or crowns fall out. This situation is rarely an emergency. However, it can be painful and you should see your dentist promptly after it happens. Your filling or crown was in place for a reason and leaving it untreated can cause other issues to develop. You can protect and seal the tooth surface with dental cement until you can see your dentist.
Dealing with A DENTAL EMERGENCY
A quick reaction to a dental emergency can save a tooth. Do not leave oral health concerns untreated. If you believe you need immediate dental care, stay calm and contact your dentist or visit an emergency room as soon as possible.