I just wanted to put out a primer on what to do when a dental emergency hits. These suggestions are general guidelines, contact your dentist for information specific for your case and any modifications to the suggestions below:
Bitten tongue, cheek, lips, etc: Gently rinse area with cool water or wipe with damp gauze or cloth. Swelling is controlled with a cold pack or crushed ice in a ziplock. If bleeding continues, apply pressure with cool wet gauze or teabag. Take appropriate pain medication.
Bleeding Gums: Normally associated with periodontal (gum) disease. The best way to minimize bleeding is brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing daily, cleaning your tongue and visiting your dentist for regular checkups. Very rarely, persistent bleeding gums can be a early warning sign for leukemia.
Canker Sores: Keep the area clean by gentle tooth brushing and rinsing with salt water. Healing should occur in about 2 weeks. Avoid acidic, hot and spicy foods and drink. If needed, take pain medications and give us a call for an assessment. Do not apply any pain medication to the area.
Fractured or Broken Tooth: Gently rinse area with water (salt water if possible). Control bleeding with a cool wet gauze or teabag (apply pressure only to the bleeding tissues, not the tooth). Do not remove fractured pieces and save all fragments. Take the appropriate pain medication and see your dentist right away.
Gum Boil: Keep the area clean by gentle tooth brushing and rinsing with salt water. If pain and swelling increases in the area then cool compresses and pain medications will help. Do not try to pop the boil. You may need to be put on antibiotics. See us as soon as possible.
Knocked out Tooth: Save the tooth or tooth pieces in a balanced saline solution, contact lens solution, milk or water. If bleeding continues, apply pressure with cool wet gauze or teabag. Take appropriate pain medication. Do not clean the area as the tissue fragments will help the healing process if the tooth can be reinserted. Be gentle with the developing clot, no spitting, smoking or use of a straw. You must get to a dentist within 60 minutes to have any real chance of saving the tooth.
Loose Baby Tooth: If the child can wiggle the tooth out...great! Encourage the child to move the tooth in all directions, but do not use large forces. Slow and steady usually wins out. If both the adult tooth and baby tooth are visible then see us for an assessment.
Toothache: Avoid the area as much as possible: no biting, or food items in the area, avoid hot and cold drinks. If pain increases and swelling occurs, then a cold compress in the area will help. Pain medications as needed. See your dentist as soon as possible, you will likely have to take antibiotics.
Teething Pains: Freeze or chill some baby carrots and apply them to the area. Ice chips in a ziplock or cloth is also good. Some mild pain relievers and teeth gel (follow the instructions closely, do not overuse) can help.
Wisdom Tooth: Keeps the area as clean as possible with tooth brushing and warm salt water rinses. If the area begins to swell and pain increases, a cool compress and pain medications will help the situation. You may need to be put on antibiotics and the tooth/teeth will likely need to come out. Give us a call immediately
In general, Advil (Motrin/Ibuprofen) 200mg every 4-6 hours should help pain and inflammation. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) 325mg every 4-6 hours is a good secondary alternative. Please review any allergies with your physician/dentist to these medications before using them. We can prescribe higher doses and different pain medications once an assessment of your situation is completed.
Hopefully this helps!
Hans Skariah, B.Sc., DMD
Promenade Court Dental Health Group in Mississauga
2233 Hurontario St., Mississauga, ON, Canada
(1/2 km north of the QEW in the Dome Building)