370 E South Temple, Ste 325 Salt Lake City, UT 84111

How To Handle a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency can leave you in pain and worried, especially if it is after normal office hours. Examples of emergencies include the following:

  • A cracked or broken tooth
  • A knocked out or loose tooth
  • A lost filling or crown

If one of these issues is affecting your tooth, the following guide can help you make the right decisions to get you through the emergency.

Cracked and Broken Teeth

This is usually due to some trauma – either outside trauma such as when playing sports, or inside trauma such as biting into a hard popcorn kernel. The treatment is the same regardless.

First, rinse well with salt water. This will remove blood from the injury so you can better view it. It will also help prevent infection and bring down swelling. If there are no major lacerations in the mouth, simply bite down on a folded piece of gauze and call your dentist’s after hours emergency number. You can also purchase dental wax to smooth over the rough edges of the crack or chip until you can get in to see your dentist.

If there are major lacerations, visit the emergency room. Damage to the inside of your cheek and your gums has to be stitched and tended to before the broken tooth can be fixed.

Knocked Out Teeth

The loss of a tooth is a more immediate injury than a crack. If you still have the tooth, rinse it off with clear water and place it back in the socket, if possible. Otherwise, place it in a cup of milk. You will need to call your dentist or a 24-hour emergency dentist immediately so they can try to root the tooth back in your mouth.

Sometimes the tooth is simply loosened and not knocked out completely. In this case, it may tighten back up if you are careful. Avoid chewing on that side of the mouth as much as possible until you can schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Lost Fillings and Crowns

When a filling comes out there may be no immediate pain. You can usually place a small piece of dental wax on the area to prevent a cavity from taking hold, and then schedule an appointment at your next convenience.

Crowns are a different matter, since their loss may uncover the nerves inside the tooth and cause pain. If you have the crown, place it back over the tooth and secure it with a bit of dental wax or denture adhesive. Otherwise, cover the tooth with a dental wax so that the nerves aren’t exposed. Usually your dentist can replace the crown if you still have it, saving you the expense of a new one.

For more help with your dental emergencies, call South Temple Dental with any questions.