How Do I Prepare for a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies are bound to happen.
Most of us will either personally experience a dental emergency or have to help a loved one through a dental emergency more than once in our lives. While accidents are bound to happen, there are some steps you can take to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation. Use this guide to learn about preventive measures you can take and how to create a plan of action you can fall back on when you need emergency dental help.
Finding Emergency Dental Services in Omaha
The first thing you need to do is find out whether your current dentist offers emergency and/or after-hours services. If they do, be sure to have their number programmed in your phone and posted somewhere in the house, along with other emergency numbers. When an accident happens, you want to be able to know who to call and not have to waste time looking up the phone number.
If your current dentist doesn’t offer emergency services, ask them for recommendations about who you should see if something happens outside of office hours. While you can certainly follow up their advice with your own research, they should be able to point you in the right direction. You may even consider setting up a consultation with prospective emergency dentists, so you can establish a rapport and feel more comfortable about coming in once you need their services.
Steps to Prevent Dental Emergencies
To avoid a painful toothache that has you wishing for relief, it is important to practice proper dental hygiene, like limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume, visiting the dentist twice a year, flossing once a day, rinsing with fluoride mouthwash, and brushing twice a day.
Also, be careful about chewing and biting into hard objects, such as ice, hard candy, and popcorn kernels. It is all too easy to crack a tooth and end up in pain.
Both children and adults can also help avoid chipped and cracked teeth by wearing a mouth guard while playing sports and engaging in physical activity. Even if you aren’t participating in a high-contact sport, these types of activities tend to increase your chances of sustaining a mouth or tooth injury. An inexpensive mouth guard can save you a lot of money and discomfort.
Most emergency dental cases involve children who have sustained an injury. Again, you can’t prevent all accidents, but it is important that adults provide proper supervision for kids and make sure they aren’t running around poolside patios, biting into hard objects, and engaging in other risky activities.
What to Do When an Accident Occurs
Stay calm. Even if you or a loved one is in pain, it is important not to panic. If you let stress take over, it is a lot harder to think straight and make the right decisions. Putting an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes will help you stay calm during a crisis. All you have to do is follow the steps you have already decided upon and get the help you need to start feeling better soon.
If you have knocked out or dislodged an adult tooth, the most important thing is to keep the tooth moist. Placing it back in the socket is ideal, but if this is too painful, place the tooth in a cup of milk or a glass of water and get to the dentist ASAP. Usually, if you can get to the dentist within an hour of having the tooth knocked out, it can be saved.
Be careful not to handle the root of the tooth and don’t clean it in any way. All of these actions will actually kill the root and decrease the chances that the dentist will be able to replant the tooth.
Cracked or Chipped Tooth
First, call the dentist and let them know you are on your way. Next, take a moment to rinse your mouth with warm water. If you notice any loose tooth fragments, try to collect them and place them in a cup of milk to take with you to the dentist. To help with face or mouth pain, use a cold compress and take the recommended dose of acetaminophen. This will help you feel more comfortable while you are en route to the dentist.
Again, call your dentist as soon as possible. You should also try to gently place your tooth back in the socket or in its proper position. Apply a small amount of pressure with your finger or bite down to get it back in place and prevent it from moving any further until you can get professional help.
Perhaps you have taken a blow to the mouth and your jaw, teeth, or gums are aching. While there might not be an obvious injury, like a missing tooth, it is still a good idea to see the dentist. They can perform an exam and take X-rays to make sure you don’t need any additional medical attention. In the meantime, use a cold compress and acetaminophen to treat the pain.
If your child has chipped or knocked out a baby tooth, you should follow the same process you would for an adult tooth. A minor chip may not require any treatment, but larger chips may need to be filed down or filled. In addition, the dentist should examine any knocked-out teeth to identify additional damage that may cause problems down the road. Do your best to keep your child calm, alleviate their pain, and get them to the dentist.
Taking a few steps to prepare for a dental emergency can help you remain calm, make the right decisions, and protect your oral health. Make sure you have an emergency dentist’s number programmed in your phone, so you can be ready to call when needed. When an accident does occur, call the dentist right away and follow the steps listed above.
If you are looking for an emergency dentist you can count on, contact The Tooth Doc. We serve patients throughout the Omaha area, and can help you handle emergencies and enjoy a beautiful smile.