Owwww. You wake with a throbbing tooth and a swollen cheek. You need urgent pain relief now and then probably a root canal and crown. That’s what usually comes to mind when men and women in the Chicago area think about emergency dentistry. It is a fairly common scenario, but any dental emergency needs attention to minimize discomfort, expense, need for more extensive dental work later, and potential permanent damage. Let’s take a look at a few dental emergency situations and how they should be handled.
- Abscess. That’s the situation described above. The pain is usually acute, triggered by pressure from inflammation and infection. Call us immediately for advice, and possible prescriptions for pain relief and antibiotics. Meanwhile, you may take whatever over the counter analgesics usually work for you, and rinse your mouth with a warm salt solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water). We’ll get you scheduled promptly to address the situation.
- Dislodged tooth. Grasp the tooth by the crown and rinse the root with water if it is dirty (don’t scrub or pick at it). If you are able, gently replace it into the socket. Otherwise, place it in a small container of milk, or water with a pinch of salt. We’ll see you as quickly as possible to try to save the tooth.
- Breakage. Save any pieces that come loose, and rinse them in warm water. Also rinse your mouth. Apply a piece of clean gauze if there’s bleeding. A cold compress will help to relieve pain and minimize swelling of the face and lips, until you can get to our office.
Probably not a dental emergency (but needs prompt care)
Toothache. A simple toothache usually develops gradually from tooth decay, a fracture, or sensitivity. This isn’t generally an emergency situation, but you should see us as soon as possible to keep it from progressing.
- Object stuck between teeth, that gentle flossing won’t release.
- Lost filling. A piece of sugarless gum molded over the tooth can make this more comfortable in the short-term.
- Lost crown. Try not to chomp it, and please don’t replace it with super glue or other adhesive.
- Loose or broken orthodontic appliances. A bit of orthodontic wax can keep brackets in place or ease poking wires until you see us.
- Soft tissue injuries. Small injuries to the tongue, gums, lips, or cheeks can be managed with a mild salt water rinse. If there’s a lot of bleeding, get to the emergency room quickly.
The Big Smile Dental team wants to help you prevent dental emergencies with advice on good home hygiene, regular check-ups, and effective treatment. Be assured, though, that if the unexpected occurs, we’ll be here for you.