Dental Emergencies

Seeking dental treatment as quickly as possible after a dental emergency or accident can help save teeth and prevent further pain and complications. A tooth that gets knocked out can be saved if it is picked up by the crown, rinsed, kept moist and brought to the dentist as soon as possible.

We know getting a tooth accidentally knocked out is a dental emergency. What is the first thing someone should do if this happens?

Dr. John Vitale: If a tooth is knocked out of your mouth, the first thing you should do is pick the tooth up, preferably by the crown, the biting portion of the tooth. Rinse the tooth off with water. Some people put it in milk afterwards, but you have to keep the tooth moist. Get to a dentist immediately. In most instances, the dentist is able to re-implant that tooth in the person’s mouth, bond it on both sides, probably do a root canal on the tooth, either in the mouth or in the dentist’s hands and wait eight weeks to see what happens. Most times, the tooth reattaches and you are okay.

If a tooth gets cracked, what should people do?

Dr. John Vitale: If a tooth gets cracked you should seek dental care immediately. A small crack, obviously, can be repaired with bonding and adhesives that we use. If it is larger, you may require additional services, but you would never know until you actually get to the dental office and have the dentist professional tell you.

What should people do if a tooth is pushed up into the gum?

If a tooth is pushed up into the gums, it depends on the age of the person. If it is a child, obviously, go to the dentist. Most times, nothing will be done because they tend to come back down again and no further treatment would be necessary, if it is not that bad. If it is an adult and the tooth is pushed up, again, go to the dentist. What will happen, generally, is the dentist will administer a local anesthetic. They will move the tooth back into position and bond it. If the nerve has not been severed, that should be okay and you can go on your merry way. If the nerve has been severed, then you probably need additional services like a root canal or such.

Is severe tooth pain considered a dental emergency that should be looked at right away?

Dr. John Vitale: Obviously, if you are having severe tooth pain, you should get to the dentist immediately. Nothing good comes out of severe tooth pain until you see the attention of a professional. I would not wait at all. I would go immediately.

What are some other dental emergencies that people experience?

Dr. John Vitale: People experience emergencies from a number of different areas. Trauma, for one, getting hit in the mouth, whether in sports, or whatever, or accidents. Decay causes dental emergencies, obviously. Getting things stuck between your teeth, or pernicious habits, that is a very big reason why people end up in dental offices where the dentist has to pick something out from between their teeth causing an abscess or what have you.

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