Mouth injuries are more common than you may think. They can occur as a result of playing contact sports, falling over or during a car crash. Not all mouth injuries require emergency dental treatment, but it's important to recognise when they do. Here are some steps to take, including when to see an emergency dentist.
Whether you've partially chipped a tooth or knocked it out altogether, there are ways of preserving it. If you can find a tooth chip, place it in a clean container with some milk or your own saliva. When it comes to knocked-out teeth, it's best to hold it by the end you can see in your mouth, rinse it clean and try placing it back in the socket. However, if that's not possible, try preserving it in milk or your saliva. You'll need to see an emergency dentist ASAP. The sooner you see someone, the easier it will be for them to fix your tooth back into place.
It isn't unusual to experience pain and swelling following an oral injury. This is the case even if you don't knock a tooth out or chip it. Try reducing the swelling using a cold compress. Cold compresses constrict your blood vessels, which results in less fluid in the area. You can also take anti-inflammatories, but ensure they don't clash with your other medications. If your swelling continues or is severe, schedule an emergency dentistry appointment. Even if an injury isn't visible to you, something may appear on a dental exam.
Bleeding is normal after a dental injury, but you must monitor its severity. Grab a clean piece of gauze and apply pressure to the bleeding area for 10 minutes. This is usually enough to stem bleeding and encourage the clot formation process. If the bleeding continues or worsens, see a dentist. There may be an injury present that requires immediate attention.
Some oral injuries result in fillings loosening or coming out. Although this isn't always an emergency, a lost filling exposes your tooth's pulp to potential sources of infection. As such, you'll need to address the problem quickly. If the filling comes out completely, you can use a temporary filling kit to reduce your chances of infection. Such kits aren't designed to last, though. A replacement filling is the best way to safeguard your oral health.
If you're ever unsure as to whether your injury constitutes an emergency, try speaking to a dentist on the phone. They can triage your case and request to see you if necessary.
For more information about emergency dentistry, contact a local dentist.