Immediate action is needed to save a tooth in a dental emergency. Teeth can become injured in a number of ways such as a car accident, sports injury, or gradual wear on teeth.
Damaged teeth can be extremely painful and jeopardize the health of your entire mouth. If you experience pain after an accident, whether there are clear signs or damaged or not, make an appointment with us right away. It’s important to treat injured teeth as soon as possible before they turn into bigger issues or harm other teeth.
In our experience, dental emergencies only get worse the longer you wait. Not only does this put your surrounding teeth at risk, but the health of your entire body as well.
Below are common types of dental emergencies and how to address them:
Avulsed tooth (tooth knocked out)
If a tooth is hit hard enough and comes out, you need to see a professional immediately. This puts your blood vessels and tissues at serious risk for infection. If you are able to see us fast enough, typically within the hour, we may be able to reconnect the tooth to the socket.
Here are some steps to take:
- Call us immediately
- Without touching the root, wash your tooth off with warm water
- Put your tooth on the socket, inside of your cheek, or place it in a glass or milk or water to keep it moist
- Come into our office as soon as you can. If possible, have someone drive you because the pain can become severe
We’ll try to reconnect the tooth to the socket. Often times, this works and tissues will begin to grow again. In the case it doesn’t work, endodontics may be needed.
Lost filling or crown
Crowns and fillings often come out when eating sticky or hard foods. If you lose a crown or filling, the tooth will be exposed and become prone to infection. Loose crowns are typically a sign of tooth decay.
If a crown falls out, see us as quickly as you can, In the meantime, put it in a safe place. Bring it with you when you come into our office because we might be able to put it back on. If your crown is off for a long period of time, it may not fit right and you may need to get a new one. An exposed tooth is highly susceptible to infection and other issues. Immediate action is the best thing you can do for a crown or filling that’s fallen out.
If you can’t come into our office right away, follow these steps:
- Put clove oil on your tooth to help with pain.
- Thoroughly wash your crown and safely put it back on your tooth with dental cement. This is sold over-the-counter at most local drugstores. Don’t put glue on your crown. Only use dental cement.
- If you don’t have the crown, place dental cement on the exposed tooth. This will help reduce pain and discomfort.
Once you come into our office, we’ll see if your crown is salvageable. If it is, we will place it back on the exposed part of the tooth. If there are any signs of tooth decay, we’ll make a new crown to avoid any chance of it spreading.
Cracked or broken teeth
While teeth are very durable and can withstand a lot, they still can become cracked and broken. This typically begins as a small crack and becomes larger over time. The crack may also go down into your tooth and cause severe pain in the root. We want to treat cracks promptly so this doesn’t happen. This can also lead to costly restorative procedures. If the root is affected, root canal therapy is almost always inevitable. If we catch it early on, before it gets to the root, we may be able to stop it from expanding with the use of a sealant or filling.
If a loose tooth hasn’t fully come out of the socket, there’s a possibility we can reattach it. This will also keep you from needing root canal therapy.
In a dental emergency, it’s best to contact us right away and follow the steps above. In many cases, we can save your natural tooth. Time is of the essence when it comes to dental emergencies.
Dr. Petri has helped many patients with various dental emergencies over the years. Call us right away at (714) 881-5500 if you are experiencing a dental emergency.