Not only are they hazardous to your smile, but dental disasters are never anticipated and highly inconvenient. Yet, they can occur anywhere, anytime, and to anyone.
In the event of such emergencies, — like a crown unexpectedly falling out or the sudden onset of a severe toothache — it’s not always possible to squeeze in a short-notice appointment with your dentist.
However, taking quick action to manage the pain is urgent, and the following tips will help with that until you can schedule a proper dental visit.
Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm salt water, then take the recommended dosage of over-the-counter painkillers as needed (e.g. Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, etc.).
If bleeding or infection occurs, plug the affected area with gauze or purchase a do-it-yourself sealant, which will provide up to 48-hour protection.
If your tongue or inner gums are bleeding, rinse the affected area(s) with warm salt water, then place gauze or a moistened tea bag in your mouth. This will help slow and eventually stop the blood-flow.
According to Bright Side Dentist, Dr. Mark Jacobs, if a filling falls out, it cannot be reinserted. Immediately remove the filling from your mouth so as not to swallow it (however, should you accidentally swallow the filling, it will pass through normally without causing damage).
Meanwhile, if your tooth becomes sensitive, the best course of action is to take over-the-counter pain medicine and schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible.
If a tooth has been chipped, broken or knocked out, you’ll need to do the following:
Hold the tooth by its crown (i.e. the part of the tooth that’s attached to the gums) and place it in a cup of milk. If you don’t have any milk on-hand, saltwater will suffice.
The moisture will prevent your tooth from dehydrating. Keep the tooth inside the cup until you are able to visit your dentist.
If, for some reason, you don’t have access to either of these liquids, it is absolutely necessary to reach your dentist within an hour of the tooth damage occurring.
Finally, if you have crowns, fillings or recently underwent an oral procedure, assemble an emergency dental kit and carry it somewhere on your person (hey, you never know when the unpredictable might happen, and it never hurts to be prepared!).
Here’s what your kit should contain:
While not intended as an alternative option to seeking professional treatment, these home remedies will provide a temporary quick-fix whenever dental disasters strike without warning.
Because, after all, a dental emergency can happen to anyone, when you least expect it…
Dr. Mark Jacobs has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy Dental School. He practices dentistry at Bright Side Dental Livonia, near Detroit, Michigan.