23Oct

The Chapel Hill Dentist Shares Tips for Handling Emergencies Until We See You

by Dr. Diane Hourigan

Dental emergencies are upsetting and often painful. Prompt treatment with the Chapel Hill emergency dentist is necessary to relieve pain and to protect your oral health. ALWAYS contact your dentist immediately if you experience a dental emergency.

Here are a few of the more common dental emergencies and how you should handle them:

NOTE: If you have suffered an injury to the face or jaw, experience excessive bleeding, or have passed out, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Tooth Knocked Out

If a tooth has been knocked out of the mouth (avulsed), it is essential to contact your dentist immediately since improper handling can damage tissues, nerves and blood vessels. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

  1. DO NOT touch the root of the tooth. Pick it up carefully by the crown and rinse under warm water.
  2. Gently try to place the tooth back in the socket, but do not force it.
  3. If you cannot place the tooth, put it into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
  4. Get to the dentist quickly and safely.

The dentist will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket but if the root structure of the tooth is seriously damaged, root canal therapy may be necessary.

Lost filling or crown

Once you’ve lost a filling the affected tooth may become highly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. When a crown comes out make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a safe place so your Chapel Hill emergency dentist can try to reinsert it. If the dentist is not immediately available you can follow these temporary steps.

  1. Try an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen for discomfort
  2. Clean the crown gently and keep it in a safe place until you get to our office. DO NOT use glue to try to reattach the tooth as you may damage the crown

Cracked or broken teeth

Natural teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks. If the crack extends into the root, the pain may be extreme. If a tooth fractured or cracked, you must see the dentist as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, take the following steps:

  1. Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
  2. Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
  3. Take a topical pain reliever.

We are here to help whenever you need us, so please call if you suspect you have an emergency!