Dental emergencies can happen when you least expect it. When these emergencies happen, it’s important to know what steps to take to save your tooth and your smile. Emergency dental care is available at all five of the Young Family Dental clinics during our regular hours, including Saturdays at many of our locations. If you find yourself in a dental emergency, here is what to do.
Emergency Room vs. Dentist Office
In the event of a dental emergency, where do you go? If your injury is not life threatening, you should go to your dentist office rather than the emergency room. Typically, in an emergency room, there are no dentists on staff or even on call. Without the proper skills and training for emergency dental care, the most an ER doctor can do for you is help with your pain and refer you to a dentist to follow up.
A life-threatening dental emergency in which you should go to the emergency room includes the need to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection, and can include:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Soft tissue bacterial infection with swelling that could compromise the patient’s airway
- Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway
Types of Dental Emergencies
A dental emergency is when an accident occurs and you suffer pain to your teeth, gums, and/or mouth. At Young Family Dental, we often treat the following types of dental emergencies:
- Toothache — pain that lasts several days or gets progressively worse and should be treated right away.
- Knocked-out tooth — if possible, save the tooth and bring it with you to your appointment because we can attempt to restore it. Hold it by the crown and don’t try to scrub it or remove any fragments. If you can, we recommend placing the tooth in a small container with milk or saliva to transport it to the dentist.
- Chipped or broken tooth — do not attempt to glue or restore your own tooth if it breaks or chips.
- Objects caught between the teeth — call the dentist to discuss whether you should try to remove the object or come in and let the dentist remove it. If you’re not sure, leave it in place until you arrive at our office.
- Partially dislodged tooth — cover your mouth to protect the tooth from permanent dislodgement and get to the dentist immediately.
- Damaged or lost crowns and bridges — some damaged crowns and bridges can be repaired, so bring the damaged part in with you if possible.
- Injury to the soft tissue in and around your mouth (tongue, cheeks, gums, lips) — these injuries may need surgical repair. If you are experiencing significant blood loss or a severe injury from an accident, go to the nearest emergency room.
- Lost fillings — schedule an appointment or come into our clinic right away to replace a lost filling so you can avoid tooth decay or cavities in the exposed part of your tooth.
How to Save a Tooth
Knowing what to do in the event of a dental emergency could make the difference between losing or saving your tooth. The American Dental Association provides these tips for what to do in the event of a an emergency:
- For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try to place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, like we mentioned above, place it in milk or between your cheek and gums. Get to your dentist’s office right away.
- For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling.
- If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
- For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
- For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.
Trust Young Family Dental for Emergency Care
At Young Family Dental, we are able to accommodate same-day dental emergencies at all of our Utah clinic locations in: Orem, American Fork, Saratoga Springs, Riverton, and West Jordan. All of our dentists and staff members are trained to help you in the event of a dental emergency. Save our number for your closest location so you’re always prepared.