tooth pain

What should you do if you have an emergency this summer?

July 19th, 2011

Dr. Michael McCarthy, Dr. Cristen Lindal and our team know all too well that summer is a season many patients experience dental emergencies - especially while they're on vacation. From a toothache to a chipped tooth to a lost filling, summer brings with it a greater chance of people damaging their teeth when they're out and about. In many cases, there are ways you can handle these occurrences at home before you follow up with a visit at our Camarillo dental office. In some instances a few minutes of attention will be all you need to effectively address a true dental emergency. Here are some common situations patients come across.

Toothaches: Rinse your mouth with warm water and floss to remove any food lodged in your teeth. A pain reliever such as aspirin may be taken to dull the pain. If swelling appears, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek. If your toothache is severe, or lasts longer than one day, schedule an appointment to see us as soon as possible.

Chipped/Broken Teeth: Save any pieces you can. Use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth to relieve pain and swelling, and apply gauze to the area for at least ten minutes if there is bleeding. Visit our office as soon as you can.

Objects Stuck in Teeth: Try flossing to carefully and gently remove the object. Never use a sharp or hard item to remove objects in your teeth; you risk injuring your gums and scratching your teeth. If you are unable to remove the object, visit our office.

Lost Filling: Sugarless gum and over-the-counter dental cement can work as temporary fillings, but be sure to make an appointment with us as soon as you can to replace a filling!

Lost Crown: If you cannot make it in to see us right away, apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area of the tooth with a cotton swab. Then slip the crown back on the tooth using dental cement or denture adhesive to hold it in place. Don’t use any kind of glue on your teeth. Be sure to make an appointment to see us to properly fix the crown as soon as possible.

Abscess: An abscess is a painful pimple-like swelling that usually occurs on your gums near the root of a tooth. Abscesses are caused by infection and can cause serious oral health problems, so come see us right away. In the meantime, try to ease the pain by rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution of ½ teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of water.

Mouth Injuries: Injuries to the soft-tissue of the mouth such as the cheeks, tongue, and gums often result in bleeding. To stop the bleeding first rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution. Then use a moistened piece of gauze to apply pressure to the site for 15-20 minutes. Holding a cold compress to the outside of the affected area will help ease pain and control bleeding and swelling. If the bleeding persists see us immediately or visit a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply gauze until you are treated.

Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Lindal and team will always tell you ignoring any dental problem can quickly increase the risk of permanent damage and the need for more treatment in the future. If you have any concerns, and especially if you experience a persistent dental issue, please give us a call so we can assist you and prevent an emergency.

Didn't see a question you'd like an answer to? Please call us or ask on our Facebook page! For a full list of medical emergencies and how to deal with them, please visit the American Dental Association.