What is a dental emergency? If you feel pain, call! You don’t want it to get worse than it already is.
Also, getting a tooth knocked out is an emergency too! If this ever happens, the sooner you get to the dentist the better chance of your tooth being saved.
Did you know over 5 million teeth get knocked out every year! Whether it’s sports related or accidental. Speaking of sports, with the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs are going on, don’t try to mimic your favorite moves without using a mouth guard.
Prevention is Key!
It’s summer, a good time to learn a new sport or play in leagues. Any contact sport is best played with a mouth guard. You never know what to expect, an elbow to the mouth, falling to the floor, unable to catch your fall and a ball/puck to your mouth. A mouthguard can’t protect you sitting in your gym bag! Discuss with your dentist which option is the best for your activities.
What To Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out
When your tooth is knocked out, other things are in danger as well. Nerves, blood vessels, and tissues can also be damaged from the trauma. After it’s been knocked out, you want to pick it up by the crown and not the root. Rinse the tooth gently, but not the root because you could be scrubbing away the periodontal ligament or the cementum which is important to hold your tooth in the socket. Soap and chemicals are damaging to the cells remaining on the root and will most likely make the tooth impossible to reattach and save.
Another thing you can try is putting the tooth back in the socket. Sounds weird right? But it can help keep the tooth moist, giving it a better chance to be reattached. Another option to try is to leave it in a cup of milk because of the biological compatibility and low bacteria count, the milk can help preserve the tooth.
The most important thing to do is to call your dentist office ASAP! Your dentist will be able to determine if your tooth can return to full function or not. The longer you put off the dentist the higher the risk of permanent tooth loss If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will go over dental bridge and implant options.
Is there a difference? Absolutely! Not to confuse you, but in both scenarios, you should see your dentist regardless! Let’s clarify the difference and explain anything that is unclear.
Signs of a True Dental Emergency
- Tooth Loss
- Extreme Pain
- Tooth Abscess or Pus
- Cracked or Chipped tooth
Losing an “adult” tooth is a dental emergency and needs quick action to save the tooth. With pain, you should call your dentist, especially with extreme pain that doesn’t lessen or go away with over the counter medicine. That could be a sign that something more significant is wrong. Pus is a sign of infection and you could need antibiotics. It’s important to get treatment right away to help the pain and infection go away. If left untreated a tooth abscess may lead to continuous dental problems. If you see swelling on your gum line or jawline it can also be a sign of an infection. Cracked or a chipped tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies. A cracked tooth exposes your nerves, which can cause more pain and if left untreated, the crack may get worse resulting in tooth loss.
Things happen and can’t be controlled, but it’s important to be able to identify what’s wrong. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist right away.
You can never plan for a dental emergency, but you can always have your bi-annual cleanings scheduled and our number saved in your phone!
Dr. Steve Lim
105 N Bascom Ave., Suite 201
San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 340-6479