Dental emergencies can be scary, or at the very least stressful. Whether it’s you or your child, when an urgent dental situation arises, you may wonder if it is a true emergency or if it can wait. Here are some examples of dental emergencies that should be addressed right away.
Dental Emergencies and What to Do
If you or your child experience any of the following dental emergencies, here’s how to handle the situation:
- Knocked out baby tooth If a baby tooth is knocked out before it is ready to be naturally shed, it is a dental emergency. The tooth can’t be put back in place, but your child should have their mouth checked for injury. A space maintainer may be necessary to hold the place open for the permanent tooth to come in when it is ready.
- Knocked out permanent tooth If a permanent tooth gets knocked out, pick it up by the crown and avoid touching the roots. Rinse it off with water (plug the drain) and place it back in the socket. Bite down on some gauze or a clean cloth to hold the tooth in place and stop the bleeding. If you can’t get the tooth back in the socket, put it in some milk and contact us immediately. The sooner a tooth can be put back in place, the more likely it will be saved.
- Soft tissue injury Examples of soft tissue injuries include cuts, accidental biting of the lip, tongue, or cheek, split lip, or other injuries. Your dentist is the best person to handle these types of injuries. Apply pressure to the injury with gauze or a clean cloth to stop the bleeding and contact us immediately.
- Severe toothache An infected tooth can be extremely painful. If the pain is not manageable with over the counter pain medication, call us immediately. During office hours we will work you in as soon as possible. After hours we will see you according to the severity of the situation. If it can’t wait until the next day, please call.
- Chipped or broken tooth A chipped or broken tooth should be addressed right away. Place any pieces of the tooth you can find in a cup of milk or saliva to bring with you to our office. We may be able to reattach them with bonding material. A broken tooth is at risk of infection because the dental pulp may be exposed, so contact us right away.
What is Not a Dental Emergency?
Here are some examples of situations that are not considered emergencies:
- Loose or lost filling If you have a filling that becomes loose or comes out completely, it is not an emergency. However, it should be addressed the next business day during regular office hours. When a filling is out of place, the tooth is susceptible to infection.
- Loose or lost crown This situation is similar to a loose filling. If your crown is loose or has come off the tooth, it needs to be replaced. But it can wait until regular office hours.
- Food lodged or stuck A piece of food that is stuck somewhere in your mouth, either between your teeth or under your gums can most likely wait until we open the next day.
- A small crack in a tooth A cracked tooth should be addressed, but it is not urgent enough to require after hours care.
- A tooth that is sensitive If you have a tooth that is sensitive to heat or cold, but it doesn’t hurt all the time or severely, it can wait until normal business hours.
Instructions for Contacting Oak Road Dentistry
If you or someone in your household experiences a dental emergency during regular office hours, please call us and explain the situation. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible. After hours please call and follow the instructions provided to leave a voicemail message. Someone will contact you shortly to ask you some questions and assess the urgency of your situation.
If the situation becomes life threatening in any way, such as uncontrolled bleeding, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness, call 911 or proceed to the nearest hospital emergency department.
In case of a dental emergency, call 770-985-9559.