A dental emergency can happen at any time. When it does, it's important to know what to do. This depends on what the emergency is. For instance, it could involve the loss of a tooth or damage to the inside of your mouth.
The aim of this article is to take a look at some of the most common dental emergencies, so that you will be prepared if any of them should happen to you.
Loss of a Tooth
Teeth can become dislodged in many different circumstances, such as if you have a fall or are injured while playing sports. If one of your teeth is knocked out, completing the following steps could help you save the tooth:
- Contact your dentist to explain the problem and see if you can be seen urgently. You have the best chance of saving the tooth if you take no longer than 30-60 minutes to get help.
- Only hold the dislodged tooth by the crown and not the root.
- Hold the tooth in its correct position in your mouth if possible. If not, the tooth should be placed in milk or your own saliva, in a clean container.
- Rinse your mouth using warm water.
- Create a cold compress and hold it on your face where the injury is.
Toothache causing distress
A minor toothache may not be a serious problem. However, severe pain that does not go away is often a sign that there is a problem which needs to be dealt with urgently. If you have this type of toothache you should seek emergency help from your dentist.
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms by the root of the tooth. This pus can leak out into your mouth and produce a nasty taste. Aside from the taste, other signs of an abscess include throbbing pain, fever and swelling.
If the problem is not treated as an emergency, the infection can spread and cause more serious problems. If you think that you have a tooth abscess, seek emergency dental care as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution to help deal with the pain.
Objects stuck between teeth
It's possible to get food or other small objects stuck between your teeth. If this happens, try to gently remove the item using dental floss. Never use sharp objects to try and poke the object out, as this can cause damage to your mouth. If the object remains lodged, seek help from a dentist as soon as possible.
Damage to the soft tissue of the mouth
It's not just your teeth that can be damaged in a dental emergency. You can also suffer an injury to the soft tissues of your mouth. If you damage your gums, lips or the inside of your cheek, there are actions you can take to stem the bleeding:
- Rinse your mouth with a mild solution of salt water.
- Apply pressure to the affected area using a piece of clean damp gauze. You can also use a fresh damp tea bag. Apply pressure for around 15 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.
- Hold a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to help relieve any pain and swelling.
If the bleeding does not stop, you should see a dentist urgently, or visit the A&E department at your local hospital.
These are all dental emergencies that you could face. It's important that you take the right action if any of these problems happen to you. Seek emergency dental help or, if an urgent appointment is not available, call 111 for medical advice.