Did you know that visits to the emergency room for dental emergencies doubled from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2012? That means that someone visited the ER in dental pain an average of every 15 seconds! Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups can prevent many emergencies, but unfortunately, accidents can still occur at any time. Below, you’ll find out how to handle the 4 most common situations at home until you can be seen by an emergency dentist in Scarborough. Even if you can’t always prevent an urgent dental situation, you can at least be prepared!
How To Handle the 4 Most Common Dental Emergencies
In most cases, call an emergency dentist in Scarborough right away so you can arrange to be seen as soon as possible. There are two exceptions to this rule: If you think you’ve broken your jaw or have heavy bleeding, go to the nearest ER immediately.
Here are some immediate steps you can take until you can get professional care:
- Persistent Toothache or Swelling – If you have a toothache that won’t go away, chances are you’ll be in quite a bit of pain and will want to come in for treatment as soon as possible. As for immediate care, use an over-the-counter pain reliever and a cold compress on the outside of your face until you can be seen.
- Chipped or Broken Tooth – Start by gently rinsing with lukewarm water. Avoid chewing on that side and take over-the-counter pain medication as necessary until your visit.
- Knocked-Out Tooth – Two things are crucial in this situation: First, keep the tooth clean and moist. Second, do your best to be seen within 1 hour. Start by holding the tooth by the crown only (not the root) and gently rinse it off. Then try to put it back into its socket, facing the right way. If that’s not possible, put it in a glass of milk, water or saliva instead. Apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean, damp towel to reduce bleeding until you can be seen.
- Broken Jaw – Apply an ice pack to the area and then go to the ER if you suspect you’ve broken your jaw. After you’ve been stabilized, you can call a dentist for any dental work that needs to be done.
How Can You Reduce Your Chances of an Emergency?
Although you can’t always avoid every emergency, any prevention efforts are still worthwhile! Here are some easy ways to keep emergencies from happening as much as possible:
- Get regular checkups
- Maintain good oral hygiene habits
- Wear a mouthguard during athletic activities
- Wear a nightguard if you clench and grind at night
- Don’t use your teeth as tools to open packages
- Avoid chewing on anything hard like ice, pens or hard candies
It’s safe to say that no one plans on having a dental emergency, but in the worst-case scenario, you’ll at least know what to do!
About the Author
Dr. Samantha Amaro is a general and emergency dentist in Scarborough who combines advanced training, years of experience and a calming chairside manner to provide outstanding emergency care to patients of all ages. If you have any additional questions about handling a dental emergency, she can be reached via her website or at (416) 285-4545.