What to do in case of dental emergency
Dr Bashar Alkabbani
A dental emergency could happen at any time. You could be riding a bicycle or jogging along the trail or just playing with your kids on the playground. You might already know that emergency rooms aren’t the best place to go for dental emergencies; all they can do is give you an anesthetic shot to numb the pain for couple of hours and recommend that you see a dentist.
Fortunately, emergency dentists exist. They are highly trained experienced general practitioners who can deal with any dental emergency at any time. Not only do they provide relief, but also complete treatment so that it looks like the accident didn’t even happen. Then you can get back to your normal activity in a matter of hours.
As a dentist who works mainly with emergencies, here are some tips on what to do if you ever have one of those unexpected emergencies.
If you fell and broke a tooth, make sure to bring the broken piece with you; often your dentist will be able to bond it back. Keep the broken piece in is your own saliva or in milk because hydration is important to prevent change of shade.
Even if your tooth or your child’s tooth fell off completely, the best to do is to put it back after cleaning it off. You have a much better chance of complete healing if you do that within half an hour. The sooner the better. If you are not able to place it back, keep it in your own saliva or in milk and find a dentist to put it back for you as soon as possible. In any case, you need to visit your dentist immediately after this happens to treat trauma and align the tooth with a splint.
If you have ever experienced sudden pain, you might know already which tooth it came from. Using cloves oil is the best way to reduce pain, which you can find it at your local pharmacy. This will work if you have an open cavity that you can access easily. Taking some leftover antibiotics also helps until you can see your dentist.
If you swell up suddenly, place an ice pack on the area for 10 minutes on and then 10 minutes off. This helps to reduce the swelling.
If you suffer from headaches, which can’t be connected to any other illness, you probably need to check with your dentist. Necrotic teeth (dead teeth), abscesses, bruxism (clinching and grinding your teeth too hard at night or under stress) or fractured teeth (often as a result of chewing ice) might be the source of your headache. The solution is usually easy, whether it is tooth removal, root canal treatment or a night guard.
I get a lot of patients with severe pain that has lasted over few days; their teeth are usually fine but their gum is not. Most of the time patients think it is their teeth, but x-ray films and examination reveal periodontitis or gingivitis (gum infection). Treatment is relatively easy, but cleaning and prevention is even easier. Flossing every day is a way to stave off gum disease.
Another common emergency is painful partially erupted wisdom teeth. Treatment doesn’t always have to be teeth removal. Application of a special dressing along with irrigation and strong mouth wash is enough most of the time. If the problem persists and teeth aren’t erupting normally or they don’t have enough room, then wisdom teeth should be removed.
If you are scared of treatment, just ask for sedation rather than delaying your treatment. Dentists use many different types of sedation – oral, IV conscious sedation or even general sedation.
If you lost a crown or chipped a tooth, immediate treatment is available in advanced clinics, including emergency clinics. Advanced technology has permitted a lot of wonderful, aesthetic, immediate treatment to solve your problem in one session.
I created The Dental Emergency Room five years ago. At the time, it sounded scary to a lot of dentists and patients, but immediately many realized that it was the most needed type of dentistry, especially when it comes to immediate dental access and support to broader emergency rooms. Treating dental emergencies requires a lot of experience and dedication. Usually it is harder work for dentists, but it is truly a huge addition to dental health.