Your dentist should be the first person you call if you have a dental emergency. Most dentists set aside time for emergency procedures. Be sure to keep your dentist’s after hours contact information readily available at all times.
Whether at home or traveling, the following tips can help you manage a dental emergency until you can get to the dentist. It is important to remember that with some dental emergencies, seeing a dentist within 30 minutes or less can mean the difference between saving or losing your tooth.
Is it a Dental Emergency?
Smoothing a chipped tooth, re-cementing a crown that is not causing pain and composite bonding to repair a tooth are not dental emergencies. Typically, such problems can be dealt with during your dentist’s regular office hours.
If you are not sure whether or not you are having a true dental emergency, answer the following questions:
- Are you in severe pain?
- Have you been hit in the face or mouth with resulting change in your bite, tooth loss and/or broken teeth?
- Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be having a dental emergency and should call your dentist immediately. It’s important to describe to your dentist exactly what has happened and what you are feeling.
If you experience extreme pain caused by hot or warm foods or beverages, try drinking ice water. It might relieve the pain. Sip on ice water and hold some in your mouth until your pain is releived.
If you are having sensitivity to cold or if it causes pain to breathe in air, avoid cold foods and beverages. Breathe through your nose and call your dentist’s office.
If you experience pain in a tooth when biting down, it might indicate an abscess. This is an emergency and you should call your dentist’s office.
How to Avoid a Dental Emergency
Many dental emergencies can be easily avoided by having routine check ups with your dentist to ensure that your mouth and teeth are healthy, strong and free from decay.
Wearing a mouth guard during sports activities will help to prevent teeth from being chipped, knocked out or broken. Avoid chewing on ice and hard foods that may break or fracture your teeth. If you are planning to travel out of the country or leaving for an extended vacation, during which you may not have ready access to dental care, it is important to see your dentist for a routine check up before you leave.