As with any emergency having to do with your health, dental emergencies can have dire consequences if they aren’t taken care of as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to think clearly when you’re in the middle of a dental emergency, but having some idea of what to do can be helpful.
At A Caring Dental Group in Cleveland, our staff understands how difficult it can be to handle a dental emergency when it affects you or someone you love. That’s why we strive to maintain a relationship with each of our patients so that you know it’s okay to call when you need us.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about dental emergencies and what to do immediately when they happen.
Not all dental emergencies look the same
Your oral health includes your gums, teeth, tongue, and more. When you think about everything that could go wrong, you realize just how complex your oral health is!
A dental emergency is a situation that requires immediate, or near-immediate, care. Whether you need to be seen within the hour or next week, you need professional care — soon.
Some common dental emergencies include:
- A knocked-out tooth or teeth
- Partially knocked-out tooth, or extruded tooth
- A chipped or broken tooth
- An abscessed tooth
- A soft tissue injury — your gums, cheeks, tongue, or lips
- A lost or loose filling or crown
- Problems with your braces or their wires
- An object caught between your teeth
Some of these emergencies require immediate care, but others, such as an issue like a bent wire on your braces, can wait a day or so until you can get to our office.
It’s normal to panic when something goes terribly wrong and you need emergency care. Your teeth are important for your overall health, not to mention their cosmetic value, so the idea of losing one or more can be terrifying. However, remaining calm and assessing the situation as clearly as you can is the best way to proceed.
Damaged teeth, abscesses, some soft tissue injuries, and severe toothaches need immediate care. We provide emergency services for those situations. However, some issues can be handled at home if our offices are closed.
Lost fillings or crowns
It’s important to get a loose or lost filling or crown addressed as soon as you can. But if you can’t come in right at the moment you notice the problem, you can pack the empty space with sugarless gum, or use dental cement to hold your crown in place. Do not use superglue in your mouth for any reason.
The severity of the toothache is going to dictate the level of urgency you feel. If you know for sure that the pain isn’t being caused by an abscess or other infection, you can put off your visit to our office for a day or two. Keep your mouth clean, use over-the-counter pain medication, rinse regularly, and come to see us as soon as possible.
It’s common for people to get food stuck in their teeth. Popcorn can be especially troublesome. It’s not a cause for panic, though. You can try to floss it out, but you should never use anything sharp to poke the object out.
Braces and wires
Sometimes a wire on your braces breaks or bends so that it pokes or scrapes the inside of your mouth or gums. You can try to bend it using a pencil eraser, but don’t try to cut it or pull it out. You can also use orthodontist wax to hold things in place until you can get to our office.
A pressing emergency, such as a chipped, broken, extruded, or knocked-out tooth, needs to be handled immediately. Don’t attempt home care in those situations. Call us at 216-230-9094 and we’ll arrange emergency care. For less urgent issues, schedule an appointment as soon as you can.