• 30 MAY 18
    • 0

    What Should You Do in a Dental Emergency?

    dental emergencies


    Let’s face it, at some point or another you, or someone you love, is going to be faced with a dental emergency. Knowing what to do can help you stay calm in a stressful situation. Read on to learn what to do and when to do it!

    Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

    Knocked out teeth are one of the most common dental emergencies, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated seriously. Immediately following injury,  contact Dr. Evanson–even if it is a baby tooth. Neighboring teeth receive injury even though they weren’t directly involved. You also want to be sure that the roots of the permanent teeth are intact and free from injury.  

    Sometimes, when teeth are knocked out, reimplantation of a lost permanent tooth is possible. However, for this to work, time is of the essence!

    Steps to Take:

    1. Locate the lost tooth. Try not to touch the roots, only touch the crown of the tooth.
    2. Without scrubbing or scraping, carefully clean the tooth with water.
    3. You can reinsert the tooth back into its original location using gentle force or have them keep the tooth in their mouth against their cheek while you travel to our office–only attempt this with older children. Younger children run the risk of swallowing the tooth. With younger children, you can place the tooth in milk or saliva until you reach our office.
    4. Keep the tooth moist while you are in route to our office. Moisture is key for re-implantation success.
    5. If it is after hours and you are unable to reach a member of our team, do not wait.  Take your child to the emergency room to save the tooth. The chances of re-implantation success will greatly diminish after one hour.


    Knocked Out Baby Tooth

    Chances are, the loss of a baby tooth isn’t an emergent issue, but sometimes treatment is necessary. Call our office for a consult.

    Tooth Displacement

    Sometimes  a tooth will be hit with so much force, that it will displace it–loosen it–but not knock it out completely. The treatment in this situation depends on if the tooth is primary or permanent. Primary teeth tend to heal on their own or will just fall out in time without medical intervention. Permanent teeth will need attention–even if they have only been displaced slightly–to make sure the tooth doesn’t get infected and to ensure the tooth isn’t in danger of dying.

    Broken Tooth

    Contact our office immediately if you break a tooth.  Dental emergencies, like a knocked out tooth, necessitate quick treatment to save the tooth and prevent infection/more invasive dental treatment.  

    Steps to Take:

    1. Rinse the mouth with water and apply a cold compresses to help reduce swelling.
    2. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to our office.



    Toothache-related pain can range from moderate to severe and is one of the most common dental emergencies we see.  The action plan for a toothache will be determined by what kind of pain you are experiencing–persistent pain, or sporadic.  Toothaches related to broken teeth, tooth decay or tooth trauma will require an evaluation by Dr. Evanson.  

    Steps to Take:

    1. Clean the painful area with warm water.
    2. Avoid applying heat to the tooth or the area around the tooth.
    3. Look to see if any food has gotten trapped and remove it with floss, a proxy brush, or a toothbrush if you can see it.
    4. Apply an ice pack to the aching area to help reduce swelling and pain.
    5. Contact our office.


    Root Fracture

    Root fractures are typically undetectable without a dental x-ray so they can go under the radar if you don’t seek treatment. A root fracture occurs from direct injury to the tooth. Rule out a root fracture if you have any concerns that one might be present. Ignoring a root fracture can could result in losing the tooth entirely. If Dr. Evanson finds that a root fracture is present in the dental x-rays, treatment will follow the positioning of the fracture and the amount of pain you are experiencing. The tooth will be monitored, treated, or extracted–as a worst case scenario.

    Steps to Take:

    1. Place a cold compress on the area of discomfort/injury.
    2. Administer dentist-approved pain relief.
    3. Contact us for further instructions.


    Dental Concussion

    Much like a head concussion, a tooth can become concussed as well. A tooth that has received a good hit, but has not been displaced or knocked out is called “concussed.” Dental concussion injuries are very common in toddlers who tend to fall more often/easily.  Dental concussion can cause permanent or temporary tooth discoloration depending on the severity of the concussion. If you notice the tooth darkening in color it is usually an indication that the tooth is dying and that it may need root canal therapy. Most dental concussion injuries are not true dental emergencies and do not require emergency treatment, but should be reported to our office.

    Tongue, Lip, or Mouth Laceration (cut)

    The soft tissue of the lips and tongue make injury to those areas quite common. If you suffer an injury to your tongue, mouth or lip, don’t panic.  Assess for the seriousness of the laceration. To do this, you will need to get a good look at the cut.

    Steps to Take:

    1. Clean the injured surfaces with mild soapy water and a soft, clean cloth. (To clean cuts inside the mouth, rinse with salt water).
    2. If your lip is discolored or swollen, apply a cold compress.  If bleeding is present, apply pressure with a clean cloth for at least five minutes.  
    3. Applying ce can help reduce pain, swelling, and bleeding.  
    4. Wrap crushed ice in clean gauze/cloth and hold it to the affected area.  

    Seek Immediate Assistance If:

    1. Bleeding cannot be controlled with pressure and a cold compress.
    2. You have a deep cut that crosses the border between the lip and facial skin.
    3. The lip is punctured.
    4. If an infection develops after an injury.


    Schedule an Emergency Dental Care Appointment

    If you would like to know more about the protocol for dental emergencies, or any of our other services, call us at (720) 409-0008 to set up an appointment to get your oral health questions answered!

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