Staying Calm in a Dental Emergency
Maybe that occasional twinge in your molar has progressed to a full-blown toothache. Maybe your child has just had a tooth knocked out during baseball practice. Maybe you bit into a hard piece of popcorn at the movies and have the unsettling feeling that your crown just cracked. Regardless of the type of dental emergency you’re dealing with, the first step you need to take to ensure the best possible outcome is to stay calm and call our office immediately at 832-437-3849. Dr. Colin Lathrop has experience dealing with all sorts of dental emergencies and whether you’re an existing patient or new to our practice, we will try to get you in for an emergency appointment as soon as possible.
First Aid for Common Dental Emergencies
While you’re waiting for you appointment, we encourage you to take the appropriate first aid action:
- Broken or chipped tooth. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, take an appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol. If you need to eat, stick to softer foods and take care not to chew with the damaged tooth. A jagged edge that’s irritating your tongue or inner cheeks can be covered with a small piece of sugarless gum to avoid soft tissue damage. For minor chips or breaks, Dr. Lathrop might recommend cosmetic bonding which can be performed in a single office visit. For significant breaks, you may need to have dental crown to restore the function of the tooth.
- Tooth knocked loose. Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Using your tongue or clean hands, gently move the tooth back into position. Take an appropriate dose of pain relief medication if you experience any discomfort and, if you need to eat, choose softer, mildly flavored foods. The treatment you need will depend on the severity of the injury. In many cases, Dr. Lathrop can place a splint to hold the tooth firmly in place while the connective tissues heal.
- Tooth knocked out. Locate the tooth, pick it up the crown (the top portion of the tooth), and rinse it gently. Leave any pieces of tissue clinging to the root in place. If you can, reinsert the tooth into the socket. If this is not possible, store the tooth in a jar of Save-a-Tooth, milk, or water. Saving the tooth depends on seeing your dentist as quickly as possible.
- Toothache. The cause of a toothache could range from a deep cavity to a piece of hard food lodged between two teeth to sinus pressure. However, it’s best to visit Dr. Lathrop as soon as possible so that the situation does not worsen and cause further discomfort. In any event, you should gently floss your teeth to dislodge any food particles. Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water and take an appropriate dose of pain medication.
- Broken filling or crown. First, remove the filling or crown from your mouth, being careful to neither swallow nor inhale it accidentally. You can discard the lost filling but you will want to hang on to the crown and bring it to your appointment. For lost fillings, Dr. Lathrop will usually choose to place a new filling. With lost crowns, as long as the crown hasn’t sustained any structural damage, Dr. Lathrop can usually bond it back into place.