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Below are some helpful tips to guide you through some of the most common urgent dental problems until you can be seen by your dentist during regular office hours.
Rinse your mouth out vigorously with warm water to clean out debris. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped between your teeth. If swelling is present, place cold compresses on the outside of the cheek. Do not use heat or place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. See your dentist as soon as possible.
Objects Wedged Between Teeth
Try to remove the object with dental floss or flossing device. Guide the floss carefully to avoid injuring the gum tissues. If not successful in removing the object, call for an appointment as soon as possible. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp pointed object as this could cause additional injury.
Filling Falls Out
Gently clean debris from the tooth by rinsing with warm water. Use temporary tooth filling material which can be found in some drug stores to temporarily fill the tooth until you can schedule an appointment with your dentist. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when placing the temporary material.
Temporary or Permanent Crown Breaks or Comes Off
If your crown breaks or comes off, contact your dentist for the next available appointment. If you are away when your crown breaks or comes off, attempt to re-cement it with temporary crown cement which can be found in some drug stores. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when placing the temporary material. Then contact your dentist as soon as possible for an appointment.
If a wire is causing irritation, cover the wire end with a small cotton ball, gauze, or a piece of wax until you can be seen by your orthodontist. If a wire is embedded in the cheek, tongue, or gum tissue, do not attempt to remove it. Go to your orthodontist immediately. If an appliance becomes too loose or a piece of it breaks off, take the appliance and the piece with you to your orthodontist as soon as possible.
Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth or gauze. If swelling is present, apply a cold compress. If bleeding does not stop, go to the hospital or emergency room.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
Gently clean debris from the injured area by rinsing with warm water. Place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to minimize any swelling. Contact your dentist immediately.
Tooth Knocked Out of Socket
Gently clean debris from the injured area by rinsing with with warm water. Place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to minimize any swelling. If you have been in a traumatic accident which caused the tooth to be knocked out (i.e. motor vehicle accident, sports injury, fight), first go to the nearest hospital for evaluation for possible systemic injuries that may require immediate treatment. If you can retrieve the tooth, do not scrub it clean. Place it in a tooth preservation solution (sold in some drug stores) or in milk. Then, contact your dentist immediately.