Common dental emergencies and what to do about them

Any person can experience a dental emergency that needs immediate attention. Accidents, infections and sports-related injuries may result in dental issues that should be cared for as soon as possible. A person has a dental emergency if he or she has any of the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Traumatic injury to the teeth, mouth or jaw
  • Severe swelling of the mouth, face or neck
  • Uncontrollable bleeding

In many cases, people may get dental problems even outside of the regular office hours of a dental clinic. When this happens, try following the steps given below to care for dental emergencies until a dentist is available to see you. In some instances, you may have to rush to the hospital dental emergency clinic if your dentist is not available.

Severe Pain

If it cannot be relieved using over-the-counter medication or especially if it is associated with fever, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked Tooth

Hold it by the crown, and avoid touching the root while picking it up. Rinse it in clean water, and try to reposition it in its socket. It might be a good idea to hold the tooth in place, using a clean piece of cloth or gauze. If it's not possible to reposition the tooth, put it in a glass of milk and rush to your dentist.

Fractured Tooth

A small chip in the tooth may not necessarily constitute a dental emergency, especially if it doesn't cause any pain. However, extensive fractures or cracks require immediate attention. Rinse the mouth with water to clean the affected area, and, then, apply a cold compress to prevent swelling and relieve discomfort. Instead of applying medication directly to the gum, take anti-inflammatory analgesics for alleviating the pain.

Tissue Injury and bleeding

If this happens, gently rinse the mouth with water, and, then, apply pressure on the area, using a clean piece of cloth or gauze and see your dentist soon.

Severe swelling of the mouth, face or neck

Swellings are mostly due to infections. Depending on where the infection spreads, it could be even life threatening.