Please note that it’s never recommended that you take care of dental issues on your own instead of seeing a dentist. However, you can’t plan for emergencies (that’s part of what makes them emergencies!). In the event of a dental calamity where you can’t get to a dentist or hospital immediately, be prepared to minimize damage or pain until you can get professional help. Here are some helpful tips on how to respond in several common situations.
Toothache or Inflamed Gums
Rinse the area with warm salt water to flush out any debris that may be causing discomfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and ibuprofen can minimize pain until you can get the problem checked out.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
Rinse the areas with warm water and apply a cold compress to the face to keep the swelling down. Do not put aspirin or pain killers directly on the gums as they can burn the gum tissues. You can protect the exposed area by covering it with sugar-free gum or wax. Some drug stores even sell kits for do-it-yourself sealants. These are a temporary solution (the fix is usually only good for 48 hours), so understand they’re just a stopgap until you can get to a dentist.
Try to keep the lost piece to show your dentist. It’s also important to keep the tooth surface clean. Brush it gently with mild toothpaste and avoid eating in this area. As with a chipped tooth, there are temporary over-the-counter options for plugging up the hole until you can see your dentist.
Knocked Out Tooth
Find the tooth and prepare it for the dentist. Hold the tooth by the crown (the white part that’s exposed when it’s properly in place), never the root. Rinse the tooth gently if it’s dirty, but don’t scrub it. You don’t want to damage any tissues still attached. If possible, try putting it back in the socket without touching the root. Otherwise, keep the tooth moist by putting it in milk or between your cheek and gums (only for adults—don’t risk a child swallowing the tooth!) until you can get to the dentist.
If it’s a permanent tooth, it can hopefully be implanted again. If it’s a baby tooth, your dentist will be able to determine whether the whole tooth came out or just part and whether it makes sense to try to put it back.
If a crown falls out, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away, try to put the crown back in place to protect the exposed area. Before you slide it into place, coat the inside with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive. Do not use super glue or any other type of household adhesive!
Hopefully, your future will be emergency-free, but if you do find yourself in one of the above situations, call TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch immediately to make arrangements for an emergency visit.