When a dental emergency occurs, it can be painful and stressful, but for many patients, having a plan can relieve some anxiety. Knowing in advance what to expect and what you can do to renew oral health, will allow you to feel confident and more relaxed during an emergency. Take the time to prepare for an emergency, and you will be able to keep the smile on your face or care for your loved ones. In five easy steps, you can relieve pain and protect your smile during any dental emergency.
Step 1 – Take a Deep Breath
In order to provide the best help, your dentist will need to know exactly what’s happening. Before picking up the phone to contact a dentist during an emergency, take a breath and carefully assess your situation. The better you understand and describe your condition, the better we can help.
Step 2 – Contact Your Dentist
Once you feel confident you or a family member can explain your condition, give your dentist a call right away. Most dentists are available after regular office hours, and many can even see emergency patients on the day they call. The dentist will walk you through the specifics of caring for your unique dental emergency, but you can take the following steps to care for your smile.
Step 3 – Clean the Area
Use cool water to clean debris and blood from the mouth, face, or dislodged teeth and restorations. If a tooth is knocked out, you can run cool water over it, but don’t rub or brush away any natural fibers that cling to the tooth. These can make it possible for the tooth to reattach. Instead, rinse out the mouth and replace the avulsed tooth in its socket.
Step 4 – Stop Any Bleeding
After cleaning the area, place pressure on damaged soft tissue using gauze or clean cloth. This will usually be enough to slow or stop blood flow. Remember that head wounds bleed very heavily, so even a small scratch may seem severe. If pressure doesn’t staunch blood flow, use a cold compress to stop bleeding. These ice packs are also good to prevent swelling and relieve pain.
Step 5 – Use Ice & Pain Relievers
If you’re in pain, try an ice pack. Apply a cold compress at twenty-minute intervals (20 on and 20 off) to reduce inflammation and discomfort. You can also take over the counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen as directed. Do not place an aspirin directly onto the tooth. This old fashioned remedy is likely to do much more harm than good.