Has Anybody Seen My Tooth? What to do in a Dental Emergency

My own experience of dental emergencies is somewhat limited; the first occurred during a house move when my parents thought it would be a good idea to unpack my bike first and leave me to play while they coped with the allegedly second most stressful even in their lives.  I managed to perform some interesting acrobatics and break a sizeable chunk off one of my front teeth.  This no doubt helped to make that second most stressful event just that little more stressful.

Since then I’ve been lucky; the resulting cap occasionally falls off when I’m talking to boring people, but that may be more to do with my tendency to fiddle with it when disinterested.  With this limited experience of dentistry and a dental emergency you can imagine my horror when faced with a screaming child pointing at its mouth.  With the old “stop whining” line failing miserable I’ve been forced to find out what you’re really supposed to do in a dental emergency.

Head First

So, getting a bit more serious now, any head injury should be not be taken lightly Whether it’s a fall from a bike, a bump during a kick around or a rather sudden descent of the stairs, these common childhood ailments can result in lost, strayed or broken teeth.  However they can also result in concussion and this should be your first concern.  Dizziness, sickness and nausea are all obvious signs, but if in doubt it’s the best policy to visit your local A&E.

If, however, you’ve discounted concussion but there have been some obvious injuries to a tooth or teeth, then a call to emergency dentists is the best action.  You’ll notice that dentists, like all professionals, can inadvertently blind you with science.  This can often serve to make you feel like a slightly worse parent than you already did so I’ve included some of the technical phrases to help you approach the situation with an of calm, command – even if you’re panicking like mad!

One of my teeth is Avulsed

Avulsed teeth; or an avulsed tooth simply means “completely knocked out” and is likely to cause a lot of pain and bleeding.  Contact a practice that provides dental emergency services as quickly as possible.  In the case of adult teeth it’s important to try and take your tooth with you – assuming you can find it – as if you are able to have treatment in the first hour there’s a chance of saving the tooth.

Hanging by a thread

Teeth that have be knocked severely but not knocked out may be out of position or hanging from the gum attached by tissue.  If possible try to secure the tooth, but contact the dentist straightaway and get treatment quickly.  Through the mist of pain you’ll hear the mention of the phrase “extruded” tooth, which is how the professionals will describe the injury.

Not so Technical Breakages

A broken tooth is not, it has to be admitted, the most technical term.  It can however be painful, especially where there has been nerve damage.  Not all dentists will consider this a dental emergency.  However, especially in the case of children you’ll want to get treatment as quickly as possible.  For adults, if the pain can be managed and there are not sharp edges, which may cause further damage, it may be possible to wait until normal opening hours but if in doubt call the dentists emergency number.

Infectious Tears

An infection in the gums under the teeth can result in a very painful swelling, which will not cause immediate damage to your teeth.  However an abscess can be considered a dental emergency as it can cause longer term damage if not treated quickly.  Pain killers will help in the short term and use mouthwash to cleanse your mouth and limit the spread of the infection.  Abscess pain can be manageable until a surgery re-opens but make sure to get treatment as soon as possible.

Whatever the dental emergency it’s likely to be a pain.  For injuries that may also feature head injuries you should consider A&E while for purely dental problems contact your emergency dentist promptly.

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