Even in the midst of holiday celebrations, your smile could suffer a severe injury at any time. You might develop a cavity from all the extra sweets, or you might crack a tooth trying to open a nut. It’s important to stay prepared so that you can act quickly no matter what kind of holiday dental emergencies strike. Here’s some tips for protecting your damaged teeth while waiting to see your dentist.
1. Knocked-Out Tooth
This is probably one of the more frightening dental emergencies you can have, made worse by the fact that if you wait too long for treatment, it might not be possible to save the tooth. Call your dentist immediately to make an appointment, then rinse the tooth (taking care to only touch the part that’s normally visible in your mouth) and try to put it back in place. You can also preserve it by placing it between your cheek and gums or by immersing it in milk or a saline solution.
First, floss around the tooth to make sure the pain isn’t being caused by a piece of food. Call your dentist if tooth pain lasts for more than a couple days or becomes severe. Cold compresses and over-the-counter painkillers can help you stay comfortable in the meantime.
3. Chipped or Broken Teeth
While some cracks are harmless and won’t lead to further damage, you should always have a damaged tooth examined as quickly as possible. Gather any pieces that have broken off and bring them to your appointment. You can try and stop any bleeding by holding a piece of gauze over the area. Remember that a broken tooth might be vulnerable to infection, so try to keep oral bacteria levels under control by rinsing with salt water.
4. Lost Filling
If a filling comes out, your tooth might not be in immediate danger, but it’s likely to be sensitive and could be exposed to infection. Orthodontic wax from the drugstore can fill the hole and protect the tooth from bacteria, temperature, and food particles until an emergency dentist can replace the filling.
5. Lost Crown
Crowns are usually placed over weakened or damaged teeth; if you lose your restoration, avoid chewing with the exposed tooth. Use a dab of clove oil to soothe any discomfort, and if possible, try to put the crown back on the tooth with dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste. (Do not use actual glue.) In any event, you should take your crown to the dentist so that they can try and reattach it.
No one expects to be visiting the emergency dentist during the holidays, but when the worst-case scenario comes true, it always pays to be prepared and ready to react appropriately at a moment’s notice.
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan E. Mason is honored to have the chance to bring outstanding dental care to Manchester and its surrounding towns. As a proud member of the Vermont Dental Society, he’s dedicated to providing quality dentistry in all situations – and in the case of a dental emergency, that means setting aside time to help you relieve your pain and save your tooth as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (802) 362-1099.