Tooth pain isn’t normal, but there are cases where a problem with your oral health requires immediate attention. Most problems can wait for an appointment, but some problems need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Dr. Durning Moore is a Charlotte, NC dentist with availability for patients needing emergency dental care. Here’s how to handle the most common injuries and problems with your teeth and how to decide when you need a dentist.
How Can Teeth Get Injured?
Although teeth are strong, they can still become injured. All dental injuries need to be addressed quickly to protect your oral health, and there are some things you can do before you see the dentist to minimize the damage to your teeth.
Car accidents, sports injuries, or other trauma to the head can result in a tooth injury. Sometimes, people with advanced gum disease or poor oral health may experience a cracked tooth or have a tooth that falls out.
Injuries as a result of severe blows to the face or head need to be evaluated immediately. Most hospitals have oral surgeons on call to handle emergency extractions, dental arch reconstruction, jaw fractures, and other urgent issues.
Less severe injuries, that tend not to be emergencies, include cracks, chips, or a tooth getting knocked out without blunt trauma. This can be the result of chewing on hard items or tooth decay. Even if you think the injury isn’t a big deal, you should still request the first appointment available.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
- If the injury resulted from an auto or sports accident, or if there was blunt force trauma to the head, neck, or face, seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room or health care provider. Do not wait to see your dentist.
- For a cracked tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. You may also experience some swelling, which you can reduce by placing cold compresses on the face. Cracked teeth are much more susceptible to bacterial infection, so keeping the area clean is essential.
- For a knocked-out permanent tooth, keeping the tooth moist at all times will increase the chances of saving it. Gently place it back in the socket without touching the root, or place the tooth in a clean and sealed container of milk. Make an appointment with your dentist immediately.
You may experience bleeding or swelling as a result of a cracked or knocked out tooth. Apply cold compresses to the face to keep the swelling down. You may also use over-the-counter painkillers, but never apply aspirin directly to the injured area.
Avoiding Dental Injuries
Accidents happen, but there are ways to prevent dental injuries.
- Practice good oral hygiene to keep teeth and gums strong.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods that can crack teeth, or items not meant for chewing such as erasers, pen caps, or fingernails.
- Never use your teeth as tools to cut or open things.
- Wear appropriate face masks and mouth guards when playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
Emergency Dental Care in Charlotte, NC
We keep emergency appointments open for situations that require immediate attention, so don’t hesitate to contact our office at (704) 275-5323 to get an appointment.