Let’s face it: people tend to put off going to the dentist. That’s true even when they’re experiencing severe dental pain, have a broken or cracked tooth, or a tooth has actually been knocked out or fallen out of its socket.
Any number of accidents can cause a dental emergency, and doing nothing isn’t the right thing. Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Taking immediate action to address a dental emergency will help you keep your teeth. You will also save yourself a lot of unnecessary suffering.
At Duffield Dentistry, Dr. Duffield and all our staff are committed to providing the emergency care you need as soon as possible. We provide same-day emergency service for anyone who calls us at (248) 721-4502 or comes into our dental office during business hours. After hours, your call will be forwarded to Megan, a member of our staff, who will arrange for you to be seen.
A dental emergency demands professional treatment, but there are a number of things you can do to help yourself until you can see Dr. Duffield. There are also a number of things you shouldn’t do.
Here are the do’s and don’ts of dental emergencies.
Teeth can be damaged by any number of things: falls, vehicle accidents, sports-related injuries, or simply biting into something too hard. Teeth can be broken or knocked out.
Broken tooth: This can be very painful, depending on the extent of the damage. The first thing to do is to collect and keep any loose pieces of the tooth. It may be possible to reconstruct the tooth through a process called dental bonding. That’s much faster and less expensive than having a dental crown installed. Call our office as soon as possible or stop by.
Tooth out of its socket: Some teeth fall out when the roots are destroyed due to decay and infection. You should consider this to be dental emergency. If a permanent tooth has been knocked out, it may be possible to reinsert it. Take care not to touch the nerve at any time. If you can reinsert it, it may very well re-root itself. You’ll need to leave it alone during that process. Try to avoid chewing on that side and don’t wiggle it to gauge its progress. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, takes steps to protect it. Putting it in a glass of milk can keep it functional for hours. Call our office immediately at (248) 721-4502, and bring the glass and the tooth with you to your appointment.
Lacerations inside the mouth: Cuts to the tongue, the insides of the cheeks, and the gums can bleed heavily. Try to stop the bleeding by pressing a clean cloth directly over the cut. If the bleeding isn’t under control after 20 minutes, go to your local hospital emergency room. When a cut is bleeding freely, it’s hard to see how severe it is. You may require stitches.
Dental pain is always a sign that something is wrong. If you’re experiencing pain that’s not due to an accident, starts suddenly and quickly gets worse, or a steady, constant pain in one or more teeth, it may be due to infection.
Don’t assume that you know what the problem is: dental pain is tricky, and the source of the problem may not lie exactly where you feel the pain. Dr. Duffield will be able to quickly pinpoint the source and cause of the pain.
Don’t self-treat: you may decide that you have an infection and take some leftover antibiotics to treat it. This hardly ever works because dental infections usually need a full course of antibiotics to clear up. And, it won’t explain why bacteria got into your tooth or under the gumline and caused the infection. This is something only a dentist can determine and treat.
Don’t use heat to try to make it feel better: heat causes the blood flow to the area to increase. More blood flowing through the site of an infection increases the chance that it’ll spread to other parts of the body.
Do call our office immediately at (248) 721-4502. The worst thing you can do is to ignore the pain.
The purpose of emergency treatment, whether for dental emergencies or other medical emergencies, is to ease suffering and preserve function. Prompt action in a dental emergency will give you the best chance of keeping your natural teeth for life.
In an emergency, call us at our Royal Oak, MI office at (248) 721-4502. We’ll see you as soon as possible and provide the best possible care.