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How To Handle Dental Emergencies

Man with Tooth Ache There are a variety of dental emergencies you may have to deal with, and they can be frightening. Fortunately, in many cases you can handle the most common dental emergencies yourself until you're able to see your dentist (don't worry, you won't have to do your own root canal).

A tooth that is damaged or knocked out can seem frightening and may cause panic because the damage to the gums in the surrounding area can cause heavy bleeding. If you bite your tongue when you suffer a blow to the face or other injury, you can also expect lots of swelling which will make the injury appear worse than it probably is. Biting the tongue is one of the most common complicating factors in dental emergencies, but it looks and feels much worse than it really is.

Controlling Bleeding and Pain of Dental Emergencies

Use gauze to put pressure on the area that is bleeding to staunch the flow until it slows down or stops. Apply a cold compress to the lips or cheek area to reduce the swelling and pain. You can also take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen to control the pain. If the pain is in the tooth itself, you can find pain relieving gels like Anbesol or Orajel to temporarily numb the area. Clove oil dabbed on the tooth can also be effective if you prefer a more natural approach.

Most dental emergencies are the result of a tooth being knocked out, broken, or cracked. If a tooth is completely knocked out, brush any debris off and gently rinse with warm water, but do not scrub it. You can make dental emergencies worse if you remove tissue that could help save the tooth if it is reinserted into the socket by the dentist.

If the tooth is chipped or cracked, you can temporarily patch the area with dental cement such as DenTemp (most drug stores will have it). You can also use dental cement to temporarily put a crown back into place until your dentist can perform a more permanent restoration.

All dental emergencies require a call to your dentist, so as soon as you have taken care of the immediate situation and subsided some of the pain, call your dentist and explain exactly what happened. He or she will schedule an appointment as soon as possible to repair, restore, or replace the damaged tooth.

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