12 FAQs About Dental Emergencies

by Power Road Dental Care

12 FAQs About Dental Emergencies

Reviewed By Dr. Tyler N Davis, DMD

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Dental emergencies can be distressing, often causing pain, discomfort, and anxiety. Knowing how to handle them can make a significant difference in managing the situation effectively.

In our previous blog, we provided a handy list of items to have in your dental first aid kit. Read it here!  

In our third blog in this series, we’ll discuss some frequently asked questions about dental emergencies to help you deal with these challenging situations.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies usually involve severe pain, bleeding, or trauma to the teeth or gums that requires urgent attention. Common dental emergencies include: 

  • Knocked-out teeth
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Toothache
  • Objects stuck in the mouth or gums
  • Broken teeth
  • Severe bleeding 
  • Lost dental crowns
  • Injury to the jaw or mouth

Where Do I Go for a Dental Emergency?

If you are experiencing any dental emergency, you have several options to consider. Many dental practices have emergency dentists on call specifically for urgent situations. 

You can call your regular dentist’s office and inquire about their emergency services or ask for a recommendation if they don’t offer such services.

If you don’t know where to go, or you’re in an unfamiliar place, you can do a Google search for “emergency dentists near me.” In some cases, especially if you’re unable to access immediate care, you can seek advice from dental professionals through online platforms or telemedicine services. They can assess your situation and recommend the appropriate course of action.

For serious dental emergencies involving severe pain, bleeding, or trauma to the head or face, visit the emergency room of the nearest hospital. They can provide initial treatment and refer you to a dentist if necessary.

What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency typically involves any sudden and severe pain, trauma, or injury affecting the teeth, gums, or mouth that needs immediate attention from a dentist. 

If you’re unsure whether your situation qualifies as a dental emergency, it’s best to contact your dentist for guidance. They can assess your symptoms and provide instructions on the appropriate course of action. 

What Do I Do With a Broken Tooth?

If you broke your tooth, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Preserve any tooth fragments in milk or saliva. Apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel to the face to reduce swelling and pain. Use  an over-the-counter pain medication to control pain and reduce swelling. Seek dental care as soon as possible.

What Happens if a Baby Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

If a baby tooth gets knocked out, it can be concerning but generally isn’t as critical as losing a permanent tooth. Have your child rinse their mouth with warm salt water. 

Apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze to control any bleeding. It’s normal for there to be some bleeding, but it should subside relatively quickly. 

Unlike an adult tooth, a knocked out baby tooth cannot be put back in. However, baby teeth are important to maintain space in the mouth. A space maintainer may be recommended to keep the teeth from shifting.

Book an appointment with your dentist right away, so they can look at the extent of damage and check if there is any soft tissue damage.  

What Do I Do if a Permanent Tooth Falls Out?

If your permanent tooth got knocked out, remain calm and act swiftly. 

  • Gently pick up the tooth by the crown, avoiding contact with the root. 
  • Rinse it gently with water, but do not scrub it or remove any attached tissues. 
  • Try to reinsert the tooth into its socket and hold it in place by gently biting down on a clean piece of gauze or cloth. 
  • If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place it in a container of milk, saliva, or a tooth-preservation solution.

Keeping the tooth moist is crucial for preserving its viability. Do not delay contacting your dentist!

How Can I Treat My Tooth Abscess at Home?

A tooth abscess is a serious infection that requires prompt treatment by a dentist to prevent complications. To help reduce discomfort, rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution (1/2 tsp salt in 8 oz water). 

Use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to further alleviate discomfort. 

Book an appointment with your dentist right away to prevent further complications.

What Can I Use for a Toothache?

Toothaches can cause intense discomfort, but you can take steps to find relief. Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water and floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. 

Apply a cold pack to your cheek to reduce swelling. You can also take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to alleviate pain. 

If you’re experiencing persistent pain that isn’t going away, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

What Happens if a Tooth Filling Falls Out?

If a tooth filling falls out, don’t panic. Although it is important to have the filling replaced, it is not an emergency. 

Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. This will keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free. Use dental wax or temporary filling material to protect the tooth. Avoid chewing on that side until you can see your dentist. 

Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have the filling replaced.  

How To Avoid Dental Emergencies?

While it’s not possible to avoid all dental emergencies, you can reduce your risk by taking a few precautions. 

  • Protect your teeth during sports by wearing a mouthguard
  • Avoid biting down on hard objects and do not use your teeth for tasks other than chewing. Maintain good oral hygiene habits and attend regular dental checkups to address any issues early on.

What Do I Do if I Have a Dental Emergency While Traveling?

If you experience a dental emergency while traveling, determine the severity of the emergency. If you’re in severe pain, experiencing significant bleeding, or have sustained trauma to your teeth or mouth, seek immediate attention after calling Dr. Davis and consulting with him. 

Use online resources or ask locals for recommendations to find a dentist or dental clinic in the area. Search ‘emergency dentist near me’ to find a dentist near your location.   

What Do I Do if I Have a Dental Emergency While Pregnant?

If you experience a dental emergency while pregnant, contact your obstetrician to discuss your situation. They can provide guidance tailored to your condition and may advise you to visit a dentist. 

Look for a dentist who has experience treating pregnant patients and is familiar with the safety protocols and precautions necessary during pregnancy. Whenever possible, opt for conservative treatments that pose minimal risk to you and your baby. 

Your Emergency Dentist in Mesa

Dental emergencies can be frightening, but knowing how to respond can make a big difference in preserving dental health and minimizing complications. When you have a plan in place, you can navigate dental emergencies with confidence and seek appropriate care when needed. 

If you’re in Mesa, Gilbert or the East Valley and looking for an emergency dentist near me, call Power Road Dental Care at (480) 664-1438. If you are a registered patient experiencing a dental emergency outside our regular business hours, we will do our best to accommodate you. 

Stay tuned for the last blog in this series, Dental Emergencies: When to Go to the ER vs. Your Dentist.

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