Think about the last time the lights went out in your house. You may have had candles and matches at the ready, flashlights with fresh batteries in easy-to-access locations, and plenty of bottled water on hand, but the sudden darkness still takes you by surprise. In a similar manner, no matter how well you’re prepared for a dental or medical emergency, it’s still going to come as a bit of a shock. However, using our guide for what to do in a dental emergency can help you stay calm and take the steps needed to increase your chances of a good outcome.
1. Ask Yourself: Is this an Emergency?
Something happened. Maybe a crown or filling fell out. Maybe a tooth was knocked loose or knocked out entirely. Maybe the sensitivity you’ve been feeling in a molar has graduated to truly painful. How do you know if your situation necessitates an emergency appointment or whether it can wait until your next checkup? In general, if your tooth hurts or is extremely sensitive, if it is loose in the socket (you can wiggle it perceptibly), or if it has sustained a break or fracture, you should make an appointment.
2. Call Your Dentist for an Appointment
Nearly all dentists offer emergency dentistry services in addition to the normal menu of dental services. As part of your dental emergency preparedness, program your dentist’s office number (or emergency number, if he has one) into your phone and add it to your list of emergency contacts. Your dentist probably has time built into his daily schedule to accommodate emergency appointments so most dentists will be able to see you on the same day.
3. Follow Basic Dental First Aid
If it hurts, note what type of pain it is (dull or sharp) and whether anything in particular triggered it (drinking hot coffee or touching your cheek, for instance). Then take an age-appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol to relieve discomfort.
If a filling, crown, bridge, or dental implant restoration has detached, recover it if possible and bring it to your appointment.
If a tooth has been knocked out entirely, recover the tooth, rinse it with water (making sure not to remove any tissue that may still be attached to the root), store it in water or a jar of Save-a-Tooth, and bring it to your appointment.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide emergency dentistry services from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.