BE READY IF YOU HAVE A DENTAL EMERGENCY
Even though you may not be able to prepare for accidents and injuries, you can be prepared for how you handle a dental emergency. You may wonder: What counts as a dental emergency? When should I call my dentist in Austin, TX? What should I do if I lose a tooth? These are all really good questions, that our team at Meadows Dental Care wants to answer for you. If something happens to you or your family, we are here to help you with emergency dental care.
WHAT COUNTS AS A DENTAL EMERGENCY?
Essentially, anytime you feel pain or something is lost, it's time to contact your board-certified dentist in Austin, TX. When in doubt, contact your dentist to find out if you need emergency dental care. These are some of the top dental emergencies we see at Meadows Dental Care:
- BROKEN OR CRACKED TOOTH
A cracked or broken tooth should be treated quickly to avoid an infection. Even if the crack is small or not visible, you still need to get urgent care from your dentist. Without treatment, a cracked or broken tooth can allow an infection and irritants into your dental nerves, causing sensitivity and pain.
- KNOCKED-OUT TOOTH
A tooth can get knocked out during sports, a car accident, an everyday mishap, and from other reasons. If a tooth gets knocked out of your mouth, carefully pick it up, clean it off as best as you can, and then hold it in your mouth while you get to the dentist. While the saliva in your mouth is ideal for preserving the tooth, cold milk is also be used.
- DAMAGED RESTORATION
If a filling, crown, bridge, or other dental restoration is loose or comes out, contact your dentist right away. Without the restoration, your teeth are weaker and more vulnerable to damage and infection.
- CHIPPED TOOTH
While a chip in your tooth may not seem like a big deal, it actually can be. Depending on the size and location of the chip, it can expose the sensitive interior pulp of your tooth. This may lead to an infection or abscess without treatment, so contact your dentist if you chip a tooth.
- BLEEDING GUMS
A little blood in your gums after brushing or flossing isn't good, but it isn't an emergency. If a cut in your gums causes significant bleeding or it doesn't clot quickly, it is a dental emergency. Continue to keep pressure on the cut with a clean cloth while you contact your dentist.
- SEVERE TOOTH PAIN
While any tooth pain should be reported to your dentist, severe tooth pain is a dental emergency. In some cases, the onset of your tooth pain may be sudden and severe. Tooth pain may also progress from mild and become severe pain over time. In any case, contact your dentist right away to get treatment for severe tooth pain.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR VISIT
If you or a family member is experiencing a dental emergency, contact your dentist right away. Even if you're not sure it's an emergency, contact your dentist. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dental health. If you are calling your dentist after their office is closed, they may have an answering service that will connect you to your dentist in an emergency or a message giving you instructions in case of a dental emergency. When you speak to someone to schedule your appointment, ask for advice on how to store a knocked-out tooth or restoration.
COMMON EMERGENCY TREATMENTS
Depending on your specific dental emergency, your dentist will recommend an appropriate treatment. A broken or chipped tooth may be protected with a temporary crown or a quick bonding treatment with composite resin. A knocked-out tooth may be saved if you stored the tooth properly and get to the dentist quickly.
FOLLOWING UP AFTER A DENTAL EMERGENCY
After your emergency dental appointment, be sure to follow any instructions given by your dentist. This may include following a liquid or soft foods diet, taking prescription antibiotics, or scheduling a follow-up appointment. If you received a temporary crown, your dentist will contact you when your custom restoration is ready so it can be placed. Depending on the condition of your mouth, your dentist may recommend scheduling your next oral health exam sooner or more often to help catch problems before they become dental emergencies.
AVOIDING DENTAL EMERGENCIES
Sometimes accidents can't be avoided, but if you'd like to do as much as you can to avoid dental emergencies, these are some of our top tips:
- WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Avoid biting hard candy and ice since this can cause chips and cracks in your teeth. If you have a dental restoration (crown or bridge), you might want to avoid sticky foods, like caramel, since these can pull them out.
- WEAR A MOUTH GUARD
If you play a contact sport, like football or hockey, a mouth guard is probably required. However, a mouth guard is a good accessory for any sport where you might fall and knock out a tooth, like skateboarding. Meadows Dental Care offers custom-made mouth guards for comfortable protection.
- BI-ANNUAL DENTIST APPOINTMENTS
Visiting your dentist in Austin, TX at least twice a year can help you avoid dental emergencies. During your exam, your dentist will diagnose and treat issues, like cavities and gum disease, before they turn into serious pain. Your dentist will also check the wear of your restorations, so they can determine if they need to be replaced or repaired.
- GOOD HOME CARE
Developing and following a good home oral care routine can help you avoid problems like cavities and gum disease that may turn into a painful dental emergency. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day for healthy teeth and gums. If you need help with your brushing or flossing technique, ask your dental team at your next visit.