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Tips for Managing Dental Emergencies

Updated on March 4, 2012

No matter how well you take care of your teeth, and how careful you are when brushing (such as switching to a soft brushless toothbrush for receding gums), you're still likely to suffer a dental emergency. Accidents happen to everyone, on various scales. Some dental emergencies are panic worthy, but it's important to keep calm and work yourself through it - or help someone else through it. Use these dental emergency tips to help keep a level head.

Dental Emergency Tips - The Killer Toothache

While it may be tempting to improve absorption, never put any kind of a painkiller like Aspirin directly on the gums or the area of the ache because it can burn the gum tissue. If you're dealing with a monster toothache, clean your mouth out by rinsing with warm water. Warm water can help ease inflammation and allow the tissue to expand under the warmth, which could ease some discomfort, and may help dislodge a bit of food that could be the culprit.

Gently floss around the tooth to check for stubborn food particles that could be causing the pain. If the pain persists, contact your dentist immediately, as a serious toothache may be the result of other underlying problems. Take it as a dental emergency and get it treated immediately.

Dental Emergency Tips - Breaking a Tooth

Having a tooth break can be extremely painful due to the exposure of the nerves inside the tooth. Don't tamper with the tooth fragment in your mouth and avoid trying to put numbing agents or pain killers in the area. Rinse your mouth by swishing with warm water at a temperature you're comfortable with to remove any particles and tooth fragments that could cause injury if swallowed or inhaled. Contact your dentist immediately and apply a cold compress to that region of your jaw to help reduce swelling.

Dental Emergency Tips - Fractured Jaw

A possible jaw fracture is a serious dental emergency. If you think you may have one, or someone you know, apply a cold compress immediately and head to the emergency room of your nearby hospital. Do not try to adjust it or set it if it looks visibly broken.

Dental Emergency Tips - Losing a Tooth

It's natural to lose your tooth as your age. It's not natural to have your teeth knocked out because you tripped on the hallway rug and smacked your mouth on the door handle of your bedroom door. If you knock a tooth clean out of your jaw, rinse it gently but do not scrub it or remove any tissue that is attached to it. Place the tooth in a small container or cup of milk and go immediately to see your dentist.

Dental Emergency Tips - Something Caught in Your Teeth

It might not seem like having something stuck in your teeth would be a dental emergency, but if you don't remove the item you'll begin to see why; inflammation, pain and discomfort, bad breath and worse. As the food sits caught between teeth, it creates a pocket for bacteria to grow around the decaying food item. That bacteria eats away at the gum tissue and tooth enamel and can lead to a serious infection around the tooth that can damage your teeth.

Get rid of food in your teeth by gently flossing, being careful not to cut the gum tissue. If you can't seem to get it out, make an appointment to see your dentist to have the foreign object removed.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency


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