In an Emergency
Stay calm. Focus on stopping the bleeding and protecting the injured tooth or area by following the appropriate instructions in this section.
Never take aspirin or ibuprofen for a dental emergency because they are anticoagulants which can cause excessive bleeding. To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Injuries to your teeth and gums can result in infection or other complications — so make sure you see your Dentist.
The most common causes are debris lodged under the gum line, a lost filling or crown, a cracked or broken tooth, or an infection. Only a thorough examination by a Dentist can determine the underlying cause of severe pain.
Until you see your Dentist, apply ice to the painful area for 10-20 minutes of every hour. To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Possible Broken Jaw
Do not move your jaw. Secure your jaw in place with a handkerchief, necktie, or towel tied around the jaw and over the top of the head. Use cold compresses to reduce swelling.
Clean your mouth out by rinsing thoroughly with warm water. Gently floss around the tooth to remove any food particles that may be trapped between your teeth or just under your gum line. If your tooth continues to hurt, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Debris between Teeth
Carefully insert a piece of dental floss (never a sharp or pointed object) between your teeth. Be gentle so you do not cut the gum tissue. If you are unable to remove the object, see your dentist right away.
Whether removable or fixed, a bridge is attached to abutments that provide an anchor of support.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
It may be possible to reattach the pieces to your tooth – only your Dentist can tell you for sure. Take the following steps and see your Dentist right away. Remember to take the pieces with you.
For the injured person:
Factors that affect the long-term health of your tooth after an injury include: the nature of the injury, the length of time from injury to treatment, how your tooth was cared for after the injury, and your body’s response. Getting treatment as soon as possible is very important with dislodged or knocked-out teeth in particular, in order to prevent root resorption.
For the chipped or broken tooth
Save the tooth’s pieces and rinse the pieces and your mouth with warm water. If the tooth’s pieces are dirty, place a towel or dishcloth in a sink (so the pieces cannot fall into the drain), and gently rinse them.
Place the pieces in a small container and cover them with milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.
For the broken tooth:
- Hold the tooth only by its crown (the enamel, visible portion). If the tooth or root is dirty, place a towel or dishcloth in a sink (so the tooth cannot fall into the drain), and gently rinse the tooth and root but DO NOT SCRUB it or remove any gum tissue that may still be attached to the root.
- If possible, gently place the tooth back into its gum socket facing the correct direction (making sure that you do not force the tooth back in place). If this is not possible, place the tooth in a small container and cover the tooth in milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.
For the Injured Person:
- Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. Apply gauze to the area and use firm pressure to stop the bleeding. Try to find the missing tooth right away.
- When the bleeding stops, apply a cold compress to the injured area to minimize swelling. If bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of constant, firm pressure, see your dentist or go to the emergency room.
- Place the tooth in a small container and cover it with milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.
A traumatic injury to your tooth may also result in a horizontal root fracture. The location of the fracture determines the long-term health of your tooth. The closer a fracture is to the root tip, the better the chances of success and long-term health; fractures closer to the gum line are more debilitating for your tooth. Sometimes, stabilization with a splint is required while the tooth heals.