As a leader in your household, you’ve probably got a plan for unexpected emergencies such as a fire, medical injury or home intruder. But what about a dental-related emergency? Would you know what to do if your child suffered a broken tooth, a knocked-out tooth or a soft tissue injury? Simply taking your child to the hospital emergency room may not be the best solution.
Why to Avoid the ER
If you have a high fever, uncontrolled bleeding or an oral infection that has spread to other parts of the face or jaw, a visit to a hospital ER is likely in order. However, the majority of dental-related emergencies can and should be handled by a dentist. Not only will the dentist be able to bring you out of pain, but he or she will have the necessary equipment and skill to make the proper repairs. These will involve treatments or procedures that fix the dental concern in a way that is long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. In other words, an ER may give you pain medication for a toothache, but a dentist can perform the necessary root canal or other therapy to relieve your discomfort at its source and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Educate Yourself on Dental Emergencies
At Grateful Dental, we proudly offer emergency dental care. We are a full-service practice that can handle all types of dental injuries. However, as your emergency dentist, we want you to also be equipped with the knowledge it takes to handle an urgent dental concern if we are not available in the hour that you need us.
There are steps you can take at home that can lessen the discomfort of a dental injury as well as promote a better chance of successful repair and healing. By educating yourself on how to handle a common dental emergency in your home, you can also greatly reduce the level of anxiety and panic that often accompanies these situations.
Here are tips on how to handle 3 common dental emergencies:
Soft tissue injuries. A bad fall on the playground or sudden blow to the face during a ballgame can commonly include injury to the soft tissues of your mouth, such as the lips, tongue, cheeks or gums. This can cause bleeding, lacerations, swelling and bruising. First and foremost, clean the area well. Apply gentle but persistent pressure to control bleeding and ice to limit swelling. If the bleeding will not stop or if the cut looks deep enough to require stitches, a trip to the ER may be necessary.
Chipped or displaced tooth. While a minor chip to a tooth is not cause for immediate dental treatment, if the tooth is injured enough to become displaced (or put out of position), a call to the dentist is needed. It may be possible to reposition and re-bond the tooth back in place. Therefore, it is important that you save any pieces of a tooth that have been lost. Don’t try and put the tooth back yourself. Stay calm and visit the dentist promptly.
Knocked-out tooth. If you or a family member knocks out a permanent tooth completely, there are things you can do at home before you get to the dental office. First, rinse the tooth with water. Always handle the tooth by the crown and never by the tooth root. If possible, you may try to place it back in the socket and gently hold it there until you can get to your dentist. But this may not be possible with young children. An avulsed tooth can also be stored in a glass of cold milk (or water if milk is not available). It is important to keep it moist and clean so that you can increase your chances of successful reattachment.
If you have more questions about how to handle a dental emergency at home, please give us a call. At Grateful Dental in Marietta, we never want our patients to assume the responsibility of treating an urgent dental concern if they don’t have to. It is always best to call us if you are questioning whether or not your mouth injury warrants emergency dental care.