What is a dental emergency?
What to do if a dental emergency does occur when your dentist is unavailable?
Here are some basic things that you can do to cope with dental emergencies when they occur:
Pain in the teeth or gums can often be effectively handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), to be taken as directed. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. Some-store bought products like Orajel® can also be effective in relieving minor soreness of the gums.
Swollen mouth- apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Rinse with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water). This can temporarily help alleviate puffy or swollen cheeks and gums. See your dentist right away. This dental emergency is one of the most dangerous if left untreated.
Broken tooth- a piece of wax or even some soft chewing gum can cover a sharp edge until you can get to the dentist. Also use cold compress for the swelling.
Bitten Lip or Tongue- Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
Knocked Out Tooth- If the tooth is dirty, hold the tooth by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth) and rinse off the root of the tooth in water. Do not scrub it or take off any connected tissue pieces. If you can, carefully insert and hold the tooth in its place (in the socket). If that is impossible, place the tooth in a glass of milk and try to get to your dentist as soon as possible. Don’t forget the tooth, take it with you! Knocked out teeth have the greatest chance of being saved if you go to your dentist and tooth is returned to its socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
Objects Caught Between Teeth- Try to remove the object with dental floss in a gentle manner and try to not injure the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. This can cause more damage. If you can’t remove the object using dental floss, contact your dentist.
Lost crown- If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, put the crown back over the tooth. You can purchase over-the-counter dental cement to coat the inner surface of your crown. NEVER use super glue!
Your dentist should also be available for advice if a dental emergency occurs. Thanks to cell phones and answering services, patients can often reach their dentist after office hours. This gives the dentist the ability to contact the pharmacy for antibiotics and pain medication should they feel that patients need them. If your dentist is going to be out of the office for more than a few days, he or she should have another dentist available to treat any dental emergencies that may occur.
If you have a dental emergency, please call our offfice at 323-771-7254. Even if it’s after hours the phone will get trasferred to Dr. Zinati’s cell phone. We are always here for you.