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How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies Until You Reach Our Office

The sudden onset of a toothache, cracking your tooth, or even losing a tooth is never something you expect, but it happens often enough. 

Fortunately, restorative treatment is available, but did you know that what you do in the time between damaging your tooth and arriving at our office is pivotal? Taking proper precautions immediately after your dental emergency helps us do the best job of repairing your smile. 

At Madison Family Dental Group, Shiva Salehi, DDS, provides compassionate and excellent care to patients with painful dental emergencies, and nothing is more important to her than bringing you relief and providing a sound solution to your situation. 

If you know what to do until you reach our office, you can help optimize the care Dr. Salehi gives you upon arrival.

What constitutes a true dental emergency?

A dental emergency involves either pain or a sudden injury that threatens the integrity of your tooth, such as a knocked-out or cracked tooth. These are issues that require prompt attention and cannot wait until the next business day.  

Emergency situations that require the care of a dentist right away include: 

Some of these emergencies are accompanied by bleeding, which can make it hard to see what’s going on in your mouth post-injury. The key is to stay as calm as you can, knowing that once you get to our office, you’re in Dr. Salehi’s capable hands. 

If you keep the following points in mind, you’ll increase your chances of getting the relief and results you want rapidly.  

1. Preserve a lost tooth by keeping it damp

Ideally, you should return your lost tooth to its socket after rinsing it, but don’t touch the root. If you can’t put it back in its socket, place the tooth between your gums and your cheek, which keeps it moist, or put it in a small container of milk.

If you have young children, it might be wise to buy a tooth preservation kit that’s approved by the American Dental Association and keep it in your glovebox. The kit is especially helpful if you have a young child who may have trouble keeping a tooth inside their mouth without swallowing it.  

2. Lessen pain and swelling with a cold compress  

Simply applying a cold pack can lessen your pain and control the swelling from your injury. Don’t leave it on too long though. Ideally, put it on your cheek for about 10 minutes, then take it off for five minutes before putting the cold pack on your cheek again. 

3. Prepare a warm-water rinse 

If you can’t see the injury because of blood or dirt, swish some warm water in your mouth to get a better look. Keep it simple and stay away from salt or special dental rinses. Water is all you need.  

4. Apply pressure to manage bleeding 

Gently apply pressure to control bleeding using gauze, a teabag, or a small damp towel. The bleeding will likely slow down or stop by the time you reach our office, and Dr. Salehi can get a clear look at your injury from the moment you arrive.  

5. Refrain from DIY object removal with anything sharp 

You can end up with a dental emergency even if you’re minding your own business and just eating or drinking. We’ve treated people who accidentally get food or other small objects, like a bead or pebble, lodged between their teeth. 

If this happens, try to remove the object gently with dental floss. If that doesn’t work or it hurts too much to floss, leave it for Dr. Salehi to address.  

You definitely shouldn’t use anything sharp, like a toothpick or plaque scraper, to remove the object, because you could push the object into your gums or between your teeth even farther. 

We’re here for you in a dental emergency

Dr. Selehi and our compassionate Madison Family Dental Group team are always available to treat you after you’ve suffered an injury or are in pain. Contact our office in Fair Oaks, California, to let us know you need immediate help, and we promise to be ready to do whatever you need.

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