Dental emergencies may make everyday life difficult or impossible. They can also pose dangers to your immediate or long-term health. A dental emergency, like a medical emergency, requires immediate treatment.
Knowing what constitutes a dental emergency can help you determine if you need treatment right away or if it can wait for Dr. Racanelli’s regular office hours here at Stunning Smiles of Las Vegas in Las Vegas.
Six Common Dental Emergencies
1. Post-Operative Dental Issues
Have you recently had a tooth extraction, root canal, filling, or other procedure? Pay close attention to how you’re feeling. If you notice excessive bleeding, pain that won’t go away, or abnormal swelling, call us.
2. Lost or broken dental restoration
Sometimes old dental restorations can fall out or become dislodged. This exposes often-sensitive parts of your tooth to further injury and infection and needs immediate care.
If you have a broken or missing filling, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity. Sugar-filled gum will cause pain. You can also use over-the-counter dental cement. Call us as soon as possible.
If you have a broken dental crown or bridge, see us as soon as possible and bring the pieces of restoration with you. If possible, coat the restoration’s inner surface with toothpaste, denture adhesive, or OTC dental cement, or vaseline and put it back into place–but don’t use superglue!
3. Severe Toothache
A mild toothache may have a temporary or benign cause and might go away on its own. Brushing too hard, impacts, sinus infection, and bruxism (tooth grinding) can cause mild toothache.
You can treat a mild toothache by rinsing your mouth with warm water and using dental floss to gently remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth and cheek, and take over-the-counter pain relievers.
A severe toothache, however, is distracting and can make it difficult to sleep. It may start mild, persist despite home care like we suggest above, and then worsen over time.
You do not have to suffer. Your comfort matters to us. Call us and let’s get you comfortable again and figure out the problem and the treatment you need to solve your toothache.
4. Knocked-out Tooth
Serious impacts to the face and mouth tend to happen in sports and household accidents. If one of your teeth has been knocked out, you need to act quickly.
Retrieve your tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that’s usually visible above your gums) and rinse off the tooth root with water. Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put your tooth back in its socket. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into place.
If it’s not possible to reinsert your tooth in its socket, put your tooth in a small container of milk (or a cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk isn’t available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth®.
In all cases, call our office right away. Dr. Racanelli has the best chance of saving a knocked-out tooth when it’s returned to its socket within one hour.
5. Dental abscess
An abscess is an infection that usually occurs around a tooth’s root or in the space between teeth and gums. It often looks swollen, like a pimple, and will feel sensitive and painful.
If you think you might have an abscess, call our office as soon as possible. While you’re waiting to be seen, you can ease the pain and draw pus towards the surface by rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution of ½ teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of water.
Abscesses are serious and can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. Left untreated, the infection can cause the face and jaw to swell and spread to other parts of the body, including the brain.
6. Severe soft tissue injury and bleeding
Injuries to the soft tissues, which include your tongue, cheeks, gums and lips, can result in bleeding.
To control the bleeding, rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution. Use a moistened piece of gauze or caffeinated tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes. (Tea contains tannic acid, which helps shrink blood vessels and slow bleeding.)
To control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek in the affected area for five to 10 minutes.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until your dentist can see you.
Is it an emergency? Err on the side of caution.
Are you in pain, or wondering if you’re having a dental emergency? Explain what you’re experiencing, and our team can help you decide.
Generally, if you’re not sure, it’s better to be cautious. If you don’t have a serious issue, the doctors at Stunning Smiles of Las Vegas will let you know. If you do, they can help before it gets worse.
We care deeply about your health and comfort. We’ll do our best to accommodate you as soon as possible. Call our office today!