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Dental Emergency: Cases, Handling & Prevention | Hawaii Family Dental

If your tooth has been damaged, don't wait! Often, your tooth can be saved if you act quickly. Our dentists will get you out of pain before it gets worse.

Common Dental Emergencies:

  • Chipped or cracked tooth
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe pain despite the use of over-the-counter painkillers
  • Traumatic injury to the jaw, teeth, or mouth
  • Severe swelling in the neck, face, or mouth

If an adult tooth gets knocked off: You're tooth may be able to be saved! Find the tooth and rinse it with some milk (not water). Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket. If this is not possible, keep the tooth in milk and go to the nearest dental office as soon as possible. Avoid holding the tooth by its roots. 

Something stuck between teeth: Carefully remove the trapped object using dental floss or a toothpick if possible.

Cut lip or tongue: Clean the area, and immediately apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the swelling and bleeding do not stop, it is best to head to an emergency room.

Children with Minor Toothaches

Food stuck between the teeth: Most of the time, the toothache source doesn't come from the tooth itself. Your child most likely got something stuck between their teeth. Fortunately—or instead, unfortunately—this cause is more common than you think. On the flip side, it's easier to relieve this type of toothache. Give your child a glass of water to rinse with. In this case, the more rigorously, the better. Once you dislodge the debris, your child will most likely feel better. Some things take a little more effort to dislodge. In this case, you might want to gently remove the debris with some floss until the offending object goes away. 

Sensitive Teeth: Some people are more sensitive to stimuli than others. And usually, it's something self-inflicted. Tooth sensitivity, after all, is generally caused by dentin or root exposure—mainly due to gum recession. If this is the type of toothache your kid has, try using a brush with softer bristles and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If their teeth still hurt after, however, it might be time to visit their dentist.  

For Major Toothaches

Assess the situation and keep calm. Your child might be in a state of distress during the emergency, so when you check their mouth, be as gentle as possible. During this time, take note of any signs of bleeding, additional injuries, or abscesses present. Aside from tooth avulsion and toothaches, other causes include having something between your teeth and a chipped tooth.

A variety of things can cause a dental emergency. Of all the causes, however, injury is the most common. In this case—particularly if your child knocked out their tooth—you'll have to move fast to save the tooth. Other times the pain might be associated with an oral abscess, facial swelling, or a bleeding mouth - things you'll want to straight to the dentist or emergency room. 

Once you've determined what caused the emergency, you can then determine which precautionary measures to use. In the case of any injury-caused emergencies, the first course of action is to stop the bleeding. Typically, you do this by placing gauze on the area and applying pressure to it. The next course of action depends on what type of emergency it is. 

A toothache caused by injury: The first thing you need to do is know what kind of trauma they have. Were their teeth knocked out? Or are they still intact? Once you've got your answers, you can do some emergency measures to speed up recovery. (We've got a handy article about it here.) Otherwise, take them straight to the dentist. 

For avulsed teeth, find the tooth. If it's still inside your child's mouth, encourage them to keep it there and encase it with saliva. If it's knocked out of their mouths, look for it and rinse it in milk. When you do find it, hold it by the crown and try to reinsert it. If this isn't possible or your child is opposed to it, place the tooth in milk. Then, take your child to the nearest dentist.

A toothache caused by decay: Reduce swelling by applying an ice pack. Then, take your child to the dentist as soon as possible. The earlier you stop the problem, the better the outcome. 

For toothaches, try to mitigate the swelling and pain as much as possible. An ice pack or pain relievers can help. You can also gently floss the area to loosen food particles stuck there or rinse it with warm saltwater. 

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Just like how most dental problems are preventable, there are also ways to prevent dental emergencies such as wearing protective gear, avoiding biting and chewing hard objects, and skipping your dental appointments.

If your child plays contact sports, wear protective gear to shield you away and reduce the chances of damaging your mouth or its supporting structures. Different types of mouth guards are available in the market. You can buy the commercially sold boil-and-bite mouth protector in most sporting goods store. However, they are restricted regarding fit adjustment that custom-fitted mouthpieces are recommended for optimum comfort and protection.

Some people have the habit of utilizing their teeth as a utility tool to open a bag of chips, break off a clothing tag, or unscrew bottle tops. Doing these may cause fracture and cracks in the teeth.

Among all preventive tips, visiting your dentist remains on the top spot. Routine checkups are essential to our oral health. Through them, early detection of possible issues is done. These will save you from costly dental procedures and unwarranted pain.

How Can a Dentist Help?

Your dentist will administer an extensive oral examination to find out the cause and location of a toothache, as well as search for indications of redness, swelling, and evident damage to the tooth. In the same way, they may also take x-rays to search for indication of tooth decay between teeth or examine impacted or cracked teeth to determine an underlying bone disorder.

Furthermore, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics or pain medication to both masks and accelerate the healing process of your toothache. In case the tooth has become infected by the time you visit your dentist, then the necessary treatment could require a root canal procedure or a tooth extraction that involves getting rid of the damaged nerve tissue from the middle of a tooth.

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