You are just going about your day, minding your own business, when — Bam! — it hits. Your kid takes a soccer ball to the mouth. You fall off your bike. Your significant other decides it’s time to dust off the old skateboard that hasn’t been touched in thirty years. Or sometimes you’re just hit with sudden tooth pain for no apparent reason.

When a dental emergency hits, you don’t have time to panic or sit around wondering what to do. Being prepared may make the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Read on to learn about different types of dental emergencies you may encounter — and how to handle them until you arrive at our office.

At Aberdeen Smiles, we understand that emergencies can’t be put on hold. That’s why we will do our very best to fit you in the same day you call. To book an emergency appointment, dial our Aberdeen, SD office at 605-277-9049.

Knocked-Out Tooth

So your tooth’s been knocked clean out of its socket. Oh no! This can be a scary situation indeed. But handle a knocked-out (or “avulsed,” to use the clinical term) tooth correctly, and you may actually be able to save it. Phew! Of course, it’s vital that you call us immediately after it happens. In the meantime, take the following steps to keep it in good condition.

  • If the tooth has dirt on it, you may carefully rinse it off with some milk or water. Do not wipe it with anything, as this could damage the tooth root.
  • Do not touch the tooth root! We repeat: do not touch the root while handling the tooth.
  • It’s important to keep the tooth moist if you want any chance of saving it. Try placing the tooth back in it socket, facing the correct way. If it won’t stay comfortably, try placing it between the cheek and gum. (We don’t recommend young kids store loose teeth in their mouths, as they risk swallowing them.) Otherwise, you may keep the tooth in a small cup with some milk or saliva.
  • A cold compress may help control pain.
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol or peroxide to clean the tooth.

Broken Tooth

If your tooth chips or breaks off, try to gather up as many of the pieces as you can and bring them to your appointment.

  • Rinse your mouth well with warm water.
  • If your face is swollen in the area of the broken tooth, apply a cold compress.
  • You can take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen if necessary.
  • If your mouth is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean gauze pad or damp teabag.
  • If the tooth is cracked, but no pieces come off, it’s still important to come see us. You may have pain only when you bite down or eat hot or cold foods.
  • Clove oil applied to the area with a cotton swab may reduce pain.

Lost Filling or Crown

If a filling or crown falls out, save it if possible and make an appointment to see us.

  • Clove oil applied to the sensitive area may help control pain.
  • If possible, place the crown back over the tooth. First, clean out the inside. Then apply a little dental cement, which is available at drugstores. If you don’t have dental cement, you can use petroleum jelly or denture adhesive. While temporary solutions, these should hold the crown in place until your appointment with Aberdeen Smiles.
  • You may also apply dental cement directly to the tooth, so it acts as a temporary filling or crown.

Sudden Tooth Pain

Sudden and unexplained tooth pain may be due to any number of factors, including a cracked tooth, decay, or an abscess — a severe infection of the tooth root. It’s important that you make an appointment to see us as soon as possible. Until you do, the following may help relieve your pain.

  • Try a saltwater rinse — ½ teaspoon salt to 8 ounces warm water. Swish it around, then spit it out. (Don’t swallow!)
  • Try gently flossing to remove any bits of food around the painful area.
  • Over-the-counter pain meds like acetaminophen and ibuprofen may provide relief.
  • An ice pack over the cheek may help, especially if the area is swollen.
  • Clove oil is a natural and effective way to numb pain. It should be applied directly to the sore area with a cotton swab or ball.

Hopefully these tips will help you be prepared in the event of a dental emergency. Remember that one of the first things you should do is call Aberdeen Smiles of Aberdeen, SD at 605-277-9049. We also have a convenient online contact form, but save that for non-emergencies.