ORANGE CITY AND DELTONA, FL
Everyone at the holiday party is having a good time. The atmosphere is perfect, the food is delicious, and everyone is dressed in their Sunday best. You take a bite of the festive food and “crunch” down. After a few seconds, you realize that you broke a tooth while eating, and you turn into panic mode. What are you going to do? Well, remain calm because an emergency dentist in Orange City, Dr. Terry Soule, has some answers to help you.
Dental emergencies vary in type, but most of the time, the simple answer is to go see your dentist. But what happens if you can’t get there right away? What can you do to relieve pain or discomfort in the meantime?
Here are 10 common emergencies that you may run into, how to deal with them when they occur, and how to try and avoid them.
#1 Cracked, Chipped, or Broken Teeth
A cracked, chipped, or broken tooth can be one of the most painful emergencies that require immediate attention. Rinse your mouth with warm water and put an ice pack on the area until you can see your dentist.
#2 A Tooth is Knocked Loose
Sometimes a tooth can be knocked loose without it being completely knocked out. Although it may hurt, it’s good news as the dentist may be able to save your tooth. Take some over the counter medicine for pain and place an ice pack on it until you reach your dentist’s office.
#3 Broken or Lost Crown or Filling
If a dental crown falls off, bring it with you to your appointment. There is a chance that the dentist may be able to recement it back on your tooth. However, a dislodged filling usually is a sign of recurrent decay or a cracked tooth. In either event, a new restoration is likely going to be needed. Your mouth will be highly sensitive to any type of activity in your mouth like eating or drinking, and yes, even air can increase pain. A temporary fix if you’re not able to get to your dentist quickly can be to use clove oil to soothe the sensitivity. Then, get to the dentist as soon as possible for the necessary repairs.
#4 Sudden Painful Toothache
There are several possibilities that can be the cause of tooth pain. When you notice the onset of tooth pain, rinse your mouth with warm salt-water, which will help reduce inflammation. Then, gently floss around the base of the tooth and attempt to remove any potential debris that may be causing the pain. If the pain doesn’t subside, you will need to make a trip to your dentist.
#5 Food is Lodged Between Your Teeth
Debris that is lodged between your teeth can cause inflammation in your gums, become very painful, and lead to an infection if not removed. First, you must try to remove the debris with a toothbrush, floss, or a water pick. If it’s just too painful, call your dentist and let them know you are in pain so they can get you in the office soon.
#6 Sudden Swelling in the Mouth
The causes vary, but the seriousness of the situation does not. You may be experiencing an abscessed tooth, which can be very painful and is no joke. Since our teeth are in our heads close to the brain, the infection can spread quickly and infect other areas in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do in this situation at home, so get to your dentist immediately.
#7 Your Braces Break
Braces have several parts that are temporary and can break or come off at any time. When you break your braces, make sure to contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. In the meantime, if a wire is poking you, try to move it to where it’s more comfortable. If you can’t keep the wire from poking you, use some orthodontic wax to cover the spot until you can get to your orthodontist’s office.
If you have a band that loosens or breaks, try to keep it and set up an appointment to have it re-cemented or replaced.
#8 You Bit Your Cheek or Tongue
You’re enjoying your favorite meal when you suddenly bite your cheek. It happens all the time and is very common when chewing gum or just not paying attention. Typically, it will result in a sore spot that is created without any need for medical attention. However, if you bite yourself and taste blood, it could be more traumatic and need attention. The first step is to try to stop it from bleeding. The best way is to rinse with warm salt-water and then insert a piece of gauze to add pressure to the wound. If the bleeding will not cease and your dentist is not available, you may go to your local Emergency Room (ER). They may need to look at it and help it stop bleeding. While this may be a rare case, it certainly could happen as a result of a facial injury.
#9 Jaw Injury
A broken or locked jaw is very painful, and you should seek immediate health care. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do at home to help other than taking over the counter pain medicine and placing an ice pack on it until you get to the ER.
#10 Inflammed Tissue Around Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth can be tricky because they come in whenever they please, and it’s usually not a pretty picture when they do. If your gums are irritated or bad breath ensues, you may have pericoronitis, which is an infection that can happen when your wisdom teeth don’t come in the right way. The best thing you can do is to get to your dentist right away.
What Can I Do to Prevent Dental Emergencies?
You never know when an emergency will occur. However, there are a few ways you can try to protect yourself from a possible emergency.
- Wear a Mouthguard – When playing sports, it’s a wise decision to wear a protective mouthpiece. Many things can happen in sports events, and you want to protect your mouth as much as possible.
- Avoid Potentially Damaging Foods – Eating things like ice, popcorn kernels, and caramels are just a few of the possibilities where the food can be too hard or sticky for your teeth to chew safely.
- Brush and Floss – As recommended, brush twice a day and floss at least once a day for a pain-free healthy mouth.
- Regular Dentist Visits – Schedule twice a year checkups and cleanings to help you prevent any damage from occurring.
There are the worst of the dental emergencies and how you can cope with the damage and pain until you can seek the help of your dental provider. As always, when unsure if your situation requires an office visit, go ahead and set up an appointment. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Terry Soule, DDS, provides emergency dental care to patients in Debary, Deltona, and Orange City, Florida. Schedule a visit with our emergency dentist by calling (386) 775-1552.