What to Do When Unexpected Oral Pain Occurs

{Dental emergency? Don’t panic! Being prepared can help you get through the experience of a severe oral injury or a painful accident with much less stress. And, just knowing that you have a trusted relationship with a local dentist can also put your mind at ease during such an emergency.}

Dental accidents and emergencies happen—usually at the most inopportune moments! It is virtually impossible to plan ahead for these situations—some of which have to be dealt with immediately… even when they occur after-hours when your dentist’s office is already closed.

So, how do you handle playing a sport during which you accidentally get injured… or waking up on vacation with an unbearable toothache? That all depends on what the problem is, how painful it is, and what caused it—although that may not always be identifiable without a trip to a dental professional. Nobody wants to be in the midst of a dental crisis, but knowing what to do will help you be more prepared if it should happen.

Managing common types of dental emergencies

Dental emergencies can range from a number of things, with varying degrees of severity. And, while all issues will ultimately need to be addressed by a dentist, some can be temporarily resolved with quick fixes to at least help you get through the night or until you can see your dentist..

  • Cracked or broken teeth: Any dental issue that involves cracking, chipping, splitting, or breaking a tooth should be considered an emergency. The first thing you should do is call your dentist, or locate an emergency dentist. At Tory Hill Dental, patients can call our regular phone number even if they have an after-hours emergency. Meanwhile, if you can find any pieces of the tooth that have broken off, put them in water or milk until it’s time for your appointment.
  • Knocked-out: When a tooth is completely knocked out, it is undoubtedly a reason to panic, but Dr. Fenn may be able to save it. The first step is to try and locate the lost tooth, if possible. Avoid handling it too much, as you could wear down the enamel. Rinse it off with water and, if bearable, put the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place. Otherwise, keep it in water or in milk until you can see your dentist at the next available appointment.
  • Lodged object: Depending on what is stuck in your teeth, you may need to seek immediate assistance. However, if the object is not causing direct harm, severe bleeding, or intense pain, you may be able to wait until the next open appointment at your dental office. Try using floss to gently dislodge the object.
  • Toothaches: A persistent toothache will not only dampen your spirits, but also it typically signifies a more serious dental issue. If you have an ache in your tooth or gums that won’t go away, or if the pain begins suddenly, without warning, you should contact your dentist right away.
  • Loose teeth, crowns, or fillings: Many things can cause a tooth to become loose or a crown to fall out of place. Much like a cracked or knocked-out tooth, try to locate and preserve any pieces of the tooth that might have fallen out of your mouth. Otherwise, avoid chewing or using that side of your mouth until you can see your dentist. If it’s not severe, wait until office hours to set up an appointment, and try to avoid eating anything hard or sticky.

In some cases – if the injured tooth isn’t causing you any discomfort when eating, talking, or drinking—then your dental pain may be manageable with a little home care. To help with any soreness and swelling, you can rinse your mouth out with warm water and apply a cold compress around the injured area. Over-the-counter medications can help with pain, as well.

Doctor or dentist?

Sometimes, you can’t resolve a dental crisis by calling the dentist’s emergency line. If you were in an accident, or if you were injured by something that ultimately caused a dental emergency—such as getting hit with a ball that resulted in a loose tooth—you should first assess the severity of your injuries. If you are badly hurt, always seek medical assistance before contacting your dentist. If you or a loved one has bitten their lip, tongue, or cheek, or if someone has dislocated their jaw, these accidents will need to be addressed at the emergency room.

You may also need to be given pain medication or antibiotics to address the issue while you wait for dental assistance. For example, toothaches may sometimes be the result of an abscess, which can cause excruciating, debilitating pain. A trip to the hospital can either treat or manage the issue if your dentist is unavailable.

Emergency dental assistance

Patients of Tory Hill Dental will always receive assistance in the event of an oral crisis. We are always willing to fit patients in at the next available appointment when it comes to severe tooth, gum, and jaw issues. Additionally, Dr. Fenn offers a wide range of cosmetic and restorative dental services to help you fix any problems, whether they are aesthetic or corrective. You can reach our Buxton office at 207-929-6626. Contact us during office hours to set up an appointment, or call us after-hours to reach an emergency line!