Dental Emergency During the Holidays...What do I do?
The holidays are such a fun time of year filled with fun, family and of course, lots of eating. Unfortunately, these are also the times that a lot of dental emergencies seem to happen. People are off work, maybe playing in a family football game, or maybe just one too many drinks in and something unexpected happens. Regardless of how they happen, your dentist office is most likely closed so you need a home remedy to tie you over until office hours resume. So what to do when a dental emergency happens to you over the holidays? Here are some good places to start depending on what the emergency is.
Broken or Chipped Teeth
You should first retrieve and save any pieces of the tooth. Then rinse your mouth using warm water; as well as rinse any broken pieces of the tooth. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply something cold to the outside of your mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve some of the pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.
Knocked Out Tooth
You will first want to retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the visible area of the tooth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Now don’t not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place and be sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth into the socket, then put the tooth in a small container of milk, or a cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt (if milk is not available), or a product containing a cell growth medium such as Save-a-Tooth. Regardless, you will want to see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth have the highest chances of being saved when seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
First off, you will want to rinse your mouth out with warm water as well as floss to remove and food particles. If it really hurts you may want to apply a something cold to the outside of your cheek where it’s hurting. However, never directly apply an aspirin directly to your teeth or gums as it may burn away your gum tissue. You should see your dentist as soon as possible.
Broken Braces Wires
If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist’s office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.
As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. You should see your dentist as soon as possible.
If a crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Whatever you do, don’t use super glue!
Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated!
Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.