Emergencies, by definition, are something that you can never really be prepared for because you never know when they are going to strike. Dental emergencies are no exception. You never know when you are going to take that wrong bite or get an elbow to your jaw.
Dental emergencies are bound to happen to us all. What we don’t know is if we’ll be prepared when they do. The best thing to do is to learn what you can about common dental emergencies and how to care for them. You can also make a dental emergency kit.
We have the information you need for both. Here in St. Petersburg, Florida, we see a lot of emergency cases from patients who are out having a great time at the beach or from visitors who have an accident while on vacation. No matter what your circumstances are, we are here to help!
What Qualifies as an Emergency?
Teeth are different from the rest of your body. If you have an injury to your body, you generally know what needs to go to the doctor and what doesn’t. Your teeth are a different story. A lot of people have avoided the dentist for so long that they no longer understand what makes an emergency an emergency!
Our general rule is that if you are uncomfortable and cannot perform normal dental functions (chewing, speaking) easily, then you are having a dental emergency and need to come in. Some emergencies are easy to spot (like your tooth being knocked out!) while others (like a toothache) are more difficult to admit.
Below are three of the most common dental emergencies we find in our office.
Broken/Knocked Out Tooth – This happens more easily than you might realize. Your teeth are not unbreakable! A wrong move or bite and you have a broken tooth! This is even more likely if your teeth are weak to begin with. A knocked out tooth can happen just as fast and must be replaced very quickly in order to save the tooth.
Broken Appliance – We use things like braces, bridges, and crowns to repair and restore your teeth. However, these dental appliances are not without risk. They can break and come loose, and when they do, you need to be seen right away. Your tooth underneath is sensitive and can easily become infected if you don’t repair the damage quickly.
Severe Toothache – Sometimes, a dental emergency is less dramatic. There is no break or injury to report, but you wake up with a skull splitting pain. The throbbing alone might keep you awake with no hope of rest! This is a sign that there is something very wrong, so don’t delay in calling our office!
Be Prepared with a Dental Emergency Kit
While emergencies are difficult to be prepared for, there are things you can do to help yourself and your family. One of those things is to create a dental emergency kit to keep in your home alongside your first aid kit. You will see that many of these things are already in your home!
Tweezers – Tweezers are the best way to pick up small pieces, like pieces of a tooth. Keep them on hand so that you have a way to hold the tooth while you rinse it off and place it in a container.
Small Container – When a tooth (or part of a tooth) comes out of the mouth, it needs to stay moist until you can get to the office. Keeping a small, sealable container at hand is one way to make sure you have what you need if that time comes!
Denture Adhesive – You don’t have to wear dentures to benefit from this gentle adhesive! Keep it on hand in case of a broken crown or bridge. The adhesive will keep your appliance in place until we can give you a more permanent repair.
Pain Relievers/Salt – For a severe toothache, the best thing for you to do is to take pain relievers. You might also use a salt rinse to ease some of the discomfort in your mouth.
Know Who to Call: Jeffery A. Spilman, DDS!
Above all, you need to know which dentist to call in the event of a dental emergency. Call our office, Jeffery A. Spilman, DDS. We specialize in dental emergency cases, and we are here to help you! We can fit you into our schedule quickly, so don’t delay!