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Handling Dental Emergencies

Although none of us like to experience them, due to accidents and other potential causes, there are times when dental emergencies occur. When they do happen, it is important to know how to respond to ensure the best possible outcome and the greatest likelihood for minimal long-term damage to your teeth.

With any emergency, we encourage you to first and foremost remain calm and keep a clear head to assess the situation. Although not all dental emergencies require immediate care and attention, if medical care is warranted, don’t hesitate to call 911 or make your way to the emergency room.

Below we outline some of the most common dental emergencies and how to handle them:

Cracked or Knocked-Out Tooth

If an accident leads to the damage of your teeth, whether a crack or the knocking out of a permanent, or adult, tooth, the best immediate course of action is to call our office right away.

In the event of a knocked out tooth, while you are making your way in to the office, attempt to place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If it is impossible to put the tooth back in its correct root, the next best thing is to let the tooth sit between your cheek and gums in order to keep it moist and preserved until we can provide care.

In the event of a cracked tooth, your first course of action should be to rinse your mouth out with warm water to clean the area. Then, be sure to call our office for an appointment. Typically, cracked teeth may not be initially painful, but left untreated can lead to further damage, including loss of the tooth.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

If you bite your tongue or lip and break the skin, clean the area gently with water and cover it with a cold compress, applying pressure to get the bleeding to stop. In the case of a severe cut our wound, head directly to the emergency room as it is likely that stitches will be needed.

Permanent or Temporary Crown Comes Off

In the event that one of your permanent or temporary crowns come off, there is typically no immediate medical concern, but it is something you want to call our office about and get in to see us as soon as possible. If the tooth missing the crown is painful, you can temporarily reset the crown on the tooth using dental cream or toothpaste until you can get an appointment. It is important that you get dental treatment as soon as possible so we can reset the crown right away. When it is not in place, over time the teeth can shift and make it difficult, or even impossible, for the crown to fit properly.

Jaw Dislocation or Fracture

If you think you have dislocated or fractured your jaw, this is considered a serious dental emergency and you should go straight to the emergency room to receive care. The trauma you have experienced indicates a number of potential concerns that need to be assessed by an emergency medical professional.

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it does give representation of the types of events that merit dental care, at home care, and emergency medical treatment. In a potentially life-threatening condition, however, don’t wait for our office to call you back – call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.

We do know that sometimes dental emergencies arise and that means that you need to be seen by our office right away. We reserve time in our daily appointment book for emergency dental care for our patients. If you find yourself in a situation requiring immediate dental care, call us and let us know what is going on so we can help provide the care that you need.

River Valley Smile Center is your family’s partner for long-term dental health and is here to help you and your family maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly office staff at 479.646.0706 or, for your convenience, fill out an appointment request here:

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