The first time many patients hear the two words “dental” and “emergency” together, they automatically assume a cracked or knocked out tooth. The truth is there are many more situations that classify as a dental emergency. The real question is, do you know what to do when that accident happens? Your dentist in Herndon, Dr. Nazila Ganji wants you to be armed and prepared with helpful information and tips on how to handle a dental emergency when you least expect it.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is classified as a dental problem that requires attention right away. They can be very painful and pose a compromise to oral and/or overall health. The following situations are examples of dental emergencies:
- Dental abscess
- A throbbing toothache or jaw pain
- Loss of a filling, crown or other restoration
- Breaking or chipping a denture
- One or more teeth knocked out
- Jaw fracture or dislocation
- Laceration of the tongue, cheek, or other oral tissues
Your emergency dentist in Herndon asks you to contact our dental practice right away for advice on caring for an oral injury and to arrange a same-day appointment as needed (we’re even open on Saturdays!). For life-threatening injuries, please get to the closest hospital emergency room right away.
Handing a Dental Emergency
Knocked out tooth
When a tooth is knocked out, rinse it with warm water, but don’t remove any clinging soft tissue. Place the tooth back into the empty socket, and hold it while traveling to our office. A knocked-out tooth may be re-implanted if the doctor works on it within an hour of injury. If you cannot replace it, put the tooth in milk or water in a sealed container or plastic bag and bring it to the office. You could also put the tooth between the cheek and gums, but the calcium from milk will keep your tooth moist and strong longer than saliva. If your tooth is fractured, be sure to bring the fragments along with you.
Soft tissue laceration
Place direct pressure on the site using sterile gauze pads or a clean cloth. If bleeding does not resolve within 10 to 15 minutes, visit your nearest ER as soon as possible.
A toothache or abscess
Over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen temporarily alleviates pain. A warm compress to the jaw soothes discomfort. It’s important to reach out to us when you experience extreme tenderness, swelling, or drainage.
Prevention is Best
Prevent injury by wearing a customized mouthguard when playing sports–even non-contact sports such as running. Don’t bite into hard foods such as ice, taffy and peanut brittle which fracture teeth and dislodge existing restorations. Use scissors to open plastic packaging. Do not bite your fingernails or other non-food items.
It’s important to visit your dentist every six months for an oral exam and professional cleaning as these preventive dental services keep teeth and gums healthy, protecting them against dental emergencies. Many times, the dentist can see a problem, such as a hairline crack, before it develops into a serious issue.
Act Quickly and Contact Us!
Don’t ever hesitate to contact the dental practice of Dr. Nazila Ganji for compassionate, speedy emergency dental care and advice. Your oral health and overall well-being depends on how quick you react to the situation.