Dental emergencies often happen at the most inopportune times. They can be quite frightening and often painful. Prompt treatment is almost always required to alleviate pain and to ensure the teeth have the best possible chance of recovery. We are here for you so you can get back to the important task of living pain free!
Sometimes teeth become fractured by trauma, grinding or biting on hard objects. In other cases, fillings, crowns and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to make an appointment with us as quickly as possible. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize physical health.
Types of dental emergency and how to deal with them
Knocked out tooth (Avulsed tooth)
If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see Dr. Crandall immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves and blood vessels become damaged. 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.
Here are some steps to take:
Call our office at (972) 423-4595.
Pick up the tooth at the top and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
If possible, place it back into its socket – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch.
If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
Get to us, quickly and safely.
We will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, other treatment may be necessary.
Lost filling or crown (cap)
Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits.
If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that it can be reinserted. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage resulting in the crown not being able to be reinserted.
Until you see Dr. Crandall, here are the steps to take:
Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain or sensitivity.
Clean the crown and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at the local pharmacy.
If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.
We will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. If decay is noted, a new crown may be necessary.
Cracked or broken teeth
The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks and breaks. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding and biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to come see our office as quickly as possible.
Where a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:
Call our office at (972) 423-4595.
Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if there is no way to see us immediately.
Take a topical pain reliever.
The nature of the break or fracture will limit what is able to be done.
When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth and attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance for the tooth to recover.
It is important to call our office immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. It is possible to reposition the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, additional treatment may be needed.
Dislocation of the Jaw Joint
This is where the jaw locks in an open position and you cannot close your mouth. The condition can cause significant discomfort until the joint returns to the proper position. The muscles surrounding the jaw joint need to relax so that the condyle can return to its normal position. Many people can have their dislocated jaw corrected without local anesthetics or musclee relaxants.
A jaw dislocation requires an immediate visit to our office to have the joint put back in place. You may be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact us at (972) 423-4595.