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What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Guy Experiencing a pain on his frontal teeth | Smiles of Punta Gorda

You’re playing a friendly game of soccer and get smacked in the face with the ball.

You skid out on a patch of sand while you’re riding your bike.

You’re enjoying a beautiful day on the beach, bite down on a chip, and find yourself in searing pain.

These — and a host of other possible scenarios — may result in a dental emergency. These events strike out of the blue and may be scary, painful, and traumatic. You can’t predict when one will happen, but you can be prepared when it does occur. And that results in less panic and a potentially better outcome.

In the case of any oral health emergency in Punta Gorda, FL, one of your first steps should be to call Smiles of Punta Gorda at 941-585-0424. We will see you the same day if at all possible, or within the next 24 hours.

 

How to Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth

Seeing a tooth that’s not where it’s supposed to be — like on the ground or in your hand — is terrifying indeed. These things tend to happen super fast. If you are unprepared, you will be at a loss as to what to do, which will cause you to lose valuable time. And for this particular emergency, which we in the dental field refer to as an “avulsed” tooth, time is critical. If you get in to see us quickly enough, we may actually get your tooth to reattach. A few things to remember:

  • Call us immediately to explain the situation and we will fit you in as soon as possible.
  • Remember to touch and hold the tooth by the crown, or upper part that usually sits above the gums. Do not touch the sensitive root or nerves.
  • If the tooth has dirt on it, you may gently rinse it with milk (water if you don’t have access to milk).
  • Keeping the tooth moist until you see us is critical. If you can do so easily and safely, you can store the tooth right in its socket. Make sure it fits comfortably and is facing in the right direction! You may also place it between your gum and cheek. Only keep it in your mouth if you can do so without swallowing it. And we don’t recommend this for children.
  • If you can’t or don’t want to store the tooth in your mouth, place it in a small, clean cup with saliva or milk. Only use water as a last resort.

If we are unable to save your natural tooth, we have beautiful and lifelike tooth-replacement options, including dental implants and dental bridges.  

 

How to Handle a Broken Tooth

Your teeth are extremely strong and durable, but even they may be break or crack under certain circumstances. Tooth breakage can happen due to traumatic injury, chomping down on hard objects, a bad bite that puts excessive pressure on a tooth, or decay that weakens the tooth. If you experience a severe break, call Smiles of Punta Gorda immediately and follow these steps if warranted.

  • If pieces break off your tooth, save them if at all possible and bring them to your appointment.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • If your mouth is bleeding, apply steady pressure to the area with a piece of clean gauze or a teabag.
  • A cold compress held to the outside of the cheek can help reduce swelling and pain.
  • If you’d like, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

How we treat you will depend on the nature of the crack or break. If the breakage is minor and cosmetic in nature, we may be able to cover it with tooth bonding, which uses a composite resin material to hide flaws.  

More extensive breakage may require a root canal and a dental crown. Don’t worry — root canals are not anything to fear, reputation aside. With local anesthesia, you won’t feel a thing.

In very severe cases, we may need to remove the tooth. Happily, we can give you a replacement — a dental bridge or a dental implant — that looks just like the real thing.

 

How to Handle Unexplained Tooth Pain

Sudden tooth pain is not only unbearable, it can be a sign of a tooth abscess or infection of the pulp. Infections are dangerous to your tooth and body as a whole and should be addressed immediately. So call our office to set up an appointment. In the meantime you can help relieve your discomfort with an ice pack, warm salt water rinse, or OTC pain reliever.

Generally, an abscess or infection will require that the infected tissue be removed and a root canal performed. After a root canal, a crown is placed to protect the tooth from further damage.

If you find yourself in a dental emergency, one of your first steps should be to call the Punta Gorda, FL office of Smiles of Punta Gorda at 941-585-0424. We also have a convenient online form (best for non-urgent appointments).

 

 

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