At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe dental emergencies can strike at any time, causing pain, discomfort, and anxiety. While regular dental check-ups and maintenance can significantly reduce the likelihood of emergencies, it’s crucial to know how to handle these situations if they do arise. From knocked-out teeth to severe toothaches, being prepared and informed can make a world of difference in managing dental emergencies effectively.

Let us look at the most common dental emergencies and how to handle them:

1. Knocked-out tooth – One of the most distressing dental emergencies is a knocked-out tooth, which can result from accidents or injuries. If this happens, quick action can sometimes save the tooth. The first step is to handle the tooth carefully, touching only the crown and avoiding the root. Gently rinse the tooth with water if it’s dirty, but do not scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments.

If possible, attempt to reinsert the tooth into the socket, making sure it’s facing the right way. If reinsertion isn’t possible, keep the tooth moist. You can place it in a container of milk, in a clean cloth soaked in saliva, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit available at some drugstores. Then, seek immediate dental attention – the chances of successful reimplantation decrease as time passes.

2. Severe toothache – A sudden and severe toothache can be debilitating, often accompanied by throbbing pain and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Begin by rinsing your mouth with warm water to cleanse the area. Floss gently to remove any debris that might be causing the pain – sometimes, a lodged piece of food or foreign object can lead to discomfort.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can temporarily alleviate the pain, but it’s crucial not to place aspirin directly on the gum or tooth, as this can lead to burns. A cold compress applied to the cheek can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Ultimately, it’s essential to schedule an emergency dental appointment to identify the root cause of the toothache and receive proper treatment.

3. Broken or chipped tooth – Accidents can also lead to broken or chipped teeth, which can be both physically uncomfortable and emotionally distressing. Collect any broken fragments and rinse your mouth with warm water. If there’s bleeding, apply gauze with gentle pressure until it subsides. Using a cold compress can help reduce swelling and pain.

If the chip is minor, the dentist might be able to repair it with dental bonding. In more severe cases, a dental crown or veneer may be required. Promptly seeking professional help is crucial to prevent further damage or infection, which could lead to more complex treatments.

4. Lost filling or crown – Losing a filling or crown can expose sensitive parts of the tooth, leading to pain and vulnerability. In such cases, a temporary solution can help protect the tooth until you can see your dentist. Pharmacies often sell dental cement that can be applied to the affected area to cover and protect it. Sugarless gum can also serve as a temporary barrier.

It’s important to remember that these are only short-term solutions. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have the filling or crown replaced professionally. Delaying treatment can lead to further damage or decay.

5. Soft tissue injuries – Soft tissue injuries within the oral cavity, such as cuts to the gums, lips, or cheeks, can occur due to accidents or biting down on hard objects. Begin by rinsing your mouth with mild saltwater to clean the area and reduce the risk of infection. Applying gentle pressure with clean gauze can help control bleeding. If the bleeding persists or the injury is severe, seek immediate dental care or visit an emergency room.

6. Abscessed tooth – An abscessed tooth occurs when a bacterial infection forms within the tooth or the surrounding gum tissue. This condition is often accompanied by severe pain, swelling, a foul taste in the mouth, and even fever. It’s crucial not to ignore these symptoms, as untreated abscesses can lead to serious complications.

While waiting for your dental appointment, you can rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution to help alleviate pain and draw out some of the infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief as well. However, professional treatment is essential to address the infection properly, which may involve draining the abscess and possibly prescribing antibiotics.

7. Dislodging braces or wires – For individuals with braces, a broken bracket or dislodged wire can cause discomfort and potential irritation to the cheeks and gums. If a wire is poking or causing discomfort, you can attempt to gently move it into a more comfortable position using a clean cotton swab or the eraser end of a pencil. Applying dental wax over the protruding wire can also help alleviate irritation.

However, if a wire is completely out of place or causing significant pain, it’s best to seek professional assistance from your orthodontist. Attempting to fix the issue yourself could lead to further complications.

8. Object stuck between teeth – Sometimes, small particles of food or foreign objects can become lodged between teeth, causing discomfort and potential damage. Use dental floss to gently and carefully remove the object. Avoid using sharp or pointed objects that could damage the gums or teeth.

If you’re unable to remove the object with floss, don’t force it. Instead, reach out to your dentist for guidance. Attempting to forcefully remove the object could worsen the situation or cause injury.

9. Jaw injuries and fractures – Jaw injuries and fractures can result from accidents, falls, or sports-related incidents. These situations require careful handling to prevent further harm and ensure proper healing. If you suspect a jaw injury or fracture, keep the jaw as still as possible by gently supporting it with your hands or a cloth. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Seek immediate medical attention by visiting an emergency room or contacting your dentist. They can assess the extent of the injury and recommend appropriate treatment, which may involve immobilization, pain management, or even surgical intervention in severe cases. Avoid trying to realign the jaw yourself, as improper manipulation could lead to complications. Prioritize safety and professional care for the best possible outcome.

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you understand that being prepared and knowing how to respond to common dental emergencies can make a significant difference in preserving oral health and reducing discomfort. Remember, in all emergency situations, seeking prompt professional dental care is essential for the best outcomes. In the event of a dental emergency, stay calm, follow the appropriate first aid steps, and reach out to your dentist for guidance and assistance.