How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are a fact of life. Nearly everyone wakes up one morning with swelling and pain, and you probably already know someone who caught a fly ball with their teeth instead of their glove.

When the inevitable happens, it’s helpful to know that emergency dental care is just a phone call away! Call our Fayetteville dental office and we’ll assess the problem and get you in as soon as we can to get you patched up and relieve your pain.

Are you having a dental emergency?

These are the most common emergencies we treat. Learn what you need to do in these situations:

Abscessed tooth – You know you have an abscess if your gum is swollen and painful and has a lesion that looks like a pimple. An abscess is a type of infection, and it can be serious if it isn’t treated right away. Call our office so that we can take a look and help you. In the meantime, you can relieve the discomfort by rinsing with a salt-water solution. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water and swish around. Don’t swallow it!

Knocked loose tooth – This is known as an extruded tooth. Depending on the severity and the damage to the root, we may be able to reseat the tooth in its correct place, but we will need to see you quickly. Until we can see you, relieve pain with a cold compress held to your cheek for 20-minute periods. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil.

Knocked-out tooth – We call this an avulsed tooth. It can be scary, but if you stay calm and call us quickly, we may be able to replace it. Gently pick up the tooth (by the crown only!) and rinse it in a dish of cool water. Don’t dislodge any bits of gum that might be attached to it. If you can, place it back in the socket, but don’t force it. If this isn’t possible, keep the tooth in a dish of milk or salt water until you get to our office.

Tooth fractures – Teeth can break when you bite down on something hard (unexpected olive pits are often a culprit) or when you experience sudden trauma to the face (like that fly ball we mentioned earlier). If your tooth breaks, retrieve the pieces, if possible, and give us a call. We’ll try to repair your tooth, but we may also need to use bonding or a crown for a full repair. If you are bleeding, apply clean gauze to the area. You can also apply an ice pack to your cheek to relieve discomfort.

Lost restorations – If a filling comes out or a crown comes loose, retrieve the restoration and call us so that we can fix it. If you are in discomfort, you can relieve it using Tylenol or Advil. Rinsing with salt water may also be effective.

If you are in any kind of pain, even if you can’t tell what’s causing it, call us right away. Your teeth should never hurt, and pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. We’ll check things out. An x-ray may tell us what’s going on if it’s not immediately visible.