Emergency Dentistry | Valparaiso & Merrillville
Dental emergencies are quite frightening and often painful. Prompt treatment is almost always required to stop the pain and to ensure the teeth have the best possible chance of survival. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize physical health. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them.
Tooth Knocked Out
If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again. Here are some steps to take:
- Call our office.
- Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
- If possible, place it back into its socket – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch.
- If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or (as a
last resort) water. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out
- Get to our office, quickly and safely.
We will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy might be necessary.
Lost Filling or Crown
Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying; the decay causes the tooth to change shape, meaning the crown no longer fits. They usually come loose while eating. Once the crown is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure.
If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make an appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because we may be able to reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage. If we are not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:
- Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.
- Clean the crown, and attach it back onto the tooth with dental cement, available at your local pharmacy. Do NOT use any kind of glue to attach the crown.
- If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
We will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated and a new crown will be made.
Cracked or Broken Teeth
Teeth are strong, but can still crack or break. Sometimes cracks are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Cracks and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting.
If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, schedule an appointment as quickly as possible. If a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:
- Call our office as soon as possible.
- Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
- Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
- Place a cold, damp dish towel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
- Cover the affected area with dental cement until you can get to our office.
- Take a topical pain reliever.
The nature of the break or fracture will limit what we are able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy is often the most effective way to retain the tooth. In the case of a complete break, we will generally affix the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure.
Dislodged or Loose Teeth
If a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it may be possible to save it. If the tooth remains attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to call our office immediately to make an appointment for us to reposition and stabilize the tooth. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy may be required.