Handling Dental Emergencies with a Clear Head
Tips from your Golf Links Dental experts to help you avoid panic in dental emergencies
There’s nothing like that feeling of panic when you, or maybe even your child, has chipped a tooth, lost a crown or, worst-case scenario, has broken a jaw. Whether you feel pain in the moment or not, dental emergencies do happen and they should be addressed quickly to avoid potentially larger issues.
Here are some common dental emergencies and recommendations on how to proceed. Please note that these are just general guidelines… you should always consult a dental expert in person or seek emergency care if you are unsure, concerned or in significant pain.
Toothache: A general toothache may not be considered an emergency, but we recommend getting into your Ancaster family dentist as soon as possible to determine the underlying factor behind the pain. If you have a toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water and ensure no food particles are stuck between the teeth. If you are still experiencing pain, you’ll want to make an appointment to address any small problems before they get too big.
Chipped, Cracked or Broken Tooth: If you can, find and keep any pieces that have separated from the tooth and bring with you to your appointment. While a chip or broken tooth is easy to diagnose, a crack is often not visible, even in an x-ray, but your dental team will be able to identify based on the symptoms you report. The fixes for chipped and broken teeth can range depending on location and severity, but may include a crown if the enamel and/or dentin of the tooth has been compromised; root canal therapy; or extraction.
Lost Tooth: If your tooth happens to fall out, or is knocked out, don’t panic. If you can find the tooth, rinse thoroughly in water and place back in the socket if possible. The key is to keep the tooth from drying out. Next, get to a dentist within a half-hour if possible. The longer you wait, the less success you will have in re-attaching the tooth. If re-attachment is not an option, your Golf Links Dentist will discuss next steps and options to rebuild your smile.
Lost Filling: This can be quite common and can cause significant pain if the root of the tooth is exposed. Until you can get to a dentist to replace the filling, we suggest placing a piece of softened sugarless gum in the spot to protect the area from the elements that could cause pain.
Gum Abscess: If you notice a yellow, red or clear pimple-like substance on your gums, it could mean an infection or a gum abscess. You’ll want to take note and get to a dentist to have it checked out. Do NOT attempt to pop the abscess as you could do further damage and spread the infection within the mouth. You should keep brushing and flossing as normal.
Broken Jaw: Likely the most panic-inducing emergency for anyone is a broken jaw. If you suspect a broken jaw because of pain, bruising, swelling or a recent injury to the area, apply ice or a cold compress to minimize swelling. Never apply heat as it will only exasperate the situation. Call your Golf Links Dental team immediately or go to emergency if it is causing significant pain.
If you want a team that cares about your dental health as much as you do, give Golf Links Dental a call at 905.648.9598. We are a family dental practice in Ancaster that treats people of all ages.