Dental Emergency 101: 10 Do’s and Don’ts You Need to Know

22 November 2023

Dental emergencies are scary, and it’s often difficult to stay calm during such situations. However, staying calm is precisely what you need to do.

You must keep a level head to respond quickly and appropriately to the situation. If someone close to you has been injured, you must take charge and get them the care they require. By remaining cool and collected, you can help them breathe through the pain and distress.

Although we hope that you never find yourself in the midst of a dental emergency, we hope you remember these ten do’s and don’ts. These tips will help guide you until you’re able to get professional help.

If you are currently experiencing a dental emergency, contact Oakville Place Dental Office at (905) 842-6030.

1. DO know the signs of a dental emergency

First and foremost, you should know what is (and what isn’t) a dental emergency. You need to know when emergency dental care is required so you can seek an office as quickly as possible. In most cases, delaying treatment can have serious consequences.

Here are the most common signs that you’re experiencing a dental emergency and require immediate attention:

  • A severe toothache or discomfort in the mouth.
  • A loose tooth (if you have all of your adult teeth).
  • A tooth is chipped, cracked, or broken.
  • A knocked-out tooth.
  • You lost a filling or crown.
  • Swollen, bleeding, and painful gums.
  • A dental abscess (a sore in your gums).
  • A growth or sore in the mouth.
  • Swollen and painful jaw.
  • An odd taste in your mouth, especially like metal or blood.
  • Obvious trauma to the mouth.

2. DON’T use aspirin for dental pain

When you’re experiencing dental pain, it’s hard to think about anything else. As a result, many people reach for over-the-counter pain relievers to ease their discomfort until they can see a dentist. Acetaminophen is a good option in these instances; however, aspirin is not.

You should never take aspirin for dental pain, especially if you’re bleeding. Aspirin is a blood thinner, which means it prevents your body from clotting effectively and makes it much harder to stop any bleeding.

Even if you’re not bleeding, you still shouldn’t take aspirin. If you end up needing emergency surgery, the aspirin in your system will make your situation worse.

3. DO use pressure to stop the bleeding

During a medical emergency, your first priority is always to stop any bleeding. Although a little blood mixed with saliva isn’t cause for much concern, intense and profuse bleeding requires immediate action.

When someone is bleeding in their mouth or has had a tooth knocked out, apply direct pressure to the injury site with a clean and cool washcloth. They should lean forward (not back) to keep blood from flowing down their throat.

4. DON’T put a knocked-out tooth in your pocket

In many cases, a knocked-out tooth can be reattached by your dentist. Consequently, it’s crucial to keep the lost tooth and bring it to Oakville Place Dental Office. You should not, however, tuck the tooth into your pocket, a bag, or an envelope; nor should you wrap it in tissue.

If a tooth is knocked out, you should put it in a jar of milk since this increases the likelihood that the dentist will be able to put it back in place successfully. Milk has a similar chemical composition to saliva, so it will keep the tooth from drying out until you can get to your dentist.

5. DO try to find the pieces of a broken tooth

If the tooth is broken or chipped, be sure to look for any pieces that may have fallen out. These pieces can often be bonded back onto the tooth, especially if there is a clean break instead of many shattered pieces.

Locate all the broken pieces, place them in a cup of milk, and bring them to our office when you come for your appointment. The tooth should be able to be repaired and reaffixed.

6. DON’T pick up a tooth by its roots

You should never pick up a knocked-out tooth by its roots. When retrieving a tooth, always grab it by the crown (the portion visible above the gumline). The root of a tooth has very delicate periodontal cells that are easily damaged. Picking up a tooth by its roots damages these cells, making the chances of re-implantation less likely.

7. DON’T ignore a cracked tooth (even if it doesn’t hurt)

A cracked tooth definitively constitutes a dental emergency. It needs to be assessed by a dentist right away so you can get the necessary treatment. Cracks and fractures often expose the living tissue (called the dentin) within your tooth. If the crack or fracture is not repaired quickly, the dentin can become infected, and you will require a root canal or tooth extraction.

8. DO go to the emergency room if needed

Although Oakville Place Dental Office is equipped and ready to handle a wide variety of dental emergencies, there are some cases when you should go to the emergency room.

If you have suffered significant facial trauma or your bleeding is uncontrolled, you should head to the hospital. The doctors there will be able to treat extreme blood loss, broken facial bones, and other serious complications.

9. DON’T worry about finding knocked-out baby teeth

When adult teeth are knocked out, it’s a dental emergency. When children’s teeth get knocked out, it’s part of life. Although you probably didn’t envision it happening during soccer or baseball practice, baby teeth are meant to fall out. You don’t have to find the knocked-out baby tooth and bring it to us.

If your child is near the age when the tooth would fall out naturally, there’s nothing to worry about. Younger children may require a space maintainer to keep the neighbouring primary teeth in place until the adult tooth erupts in a few years.

You should, however, bring your child to see us at Oakville Place Dental Office so we can check for any additional injuries. In the meantime, have your child rinse with warm water, clean any soft tissue damage, and use a cold compress for swelling.

10. DO make a dental appointment at Oakville Place Dental Office

Dental emergencies require prompt professional attention. These crises are time-sensitive, so delaying is not an option. The sooner you visit Oakville Place Dental Office, the sooner you or your loved one will be taken care of.

Responding quickly minimizes damage, prevents infection, reduces discomfort, and gets you feeling better faster. It also prevents the situation from getting worse and requiring more intensive treatment.

Oakville Place Dental Office provides professional dental emergency care for patients of all ages. We offer high-quality, timely, comfortable, and cost-effective treatment using the best modern technology. 

Our kind and knowledgeable staff are ready to help. We also work with your insurance company, billing them directly whenever possible.

For emergency dental care in Oakville, call Oakville Place Dental Office at 905-842-6030 or contact us here.

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