Don’t Panic! Learn These Steps. Call Our Office!
When we talk about dental emergencies, we’re generally referring to two common scenarios. The first involves teeth damaged by long-term decay and disease, while the other refers to forced trauma. Both can wreak havoc on your smile and your oral health, but knowing the right steps and visiting Dr. Lumpkin at Dentistry by Design can help you prevent permanent damage from being done. His advice is to stay calm, call our office to schedule an emergency appointment, and learn the steps below to handle your issue before your visit.
No matter what your dental emergency is, you should always call our practice and schedule an emergency appointment. However, following our helpful tips will help you stabilize before you arrive.
A toothache can have many causes, but the most common causes include trauma or long-term tooth decay. If your tooth hurts, take over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin as this can trigger a burning sensation when coming into direct contact with your tooth. After performing X-rays, the dentist may recommend decay removal followed by a filling or crown depending on the extent of the damage.
Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the broken tooth sits. If no pain is present, you can wait until normal business hours to have it handled. However, teeth with cracks that extend below the gum line need to be handled immediately. Rinse your mouth out with warm water and apply a cold compress to your cheek. Take painkillers to ease discomfort. A crown may be enough if no damage to the root has occurred. Alternatively, a root canal may be performed if the inner tooth is damaged.
Locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown. Do not touch or remove any tissue still attached. Gently rinse any dirt or debris from the tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm water, then attempt to place the tooth back into your socket. If not possible, place the tooth into a container of milk or saltwater to keep it preserved. Get to our office within the next hour. The sooner you get it reimplanted, the more likely it can be saved. If the tooth cannot be saved, a dental implant will be needed.
After locating the crown or filling, rinse it off and use either dental cement, petroleum jelly or denture adhesive to reattach it. If not possible, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and get to our office. If the restoration is in one piece, our office may be able to reattach it. However, broken restorations generally require full replacement.
Make no mistake, our Bartlesville dental team loves being here for all of your dental needs – from routine checkups to last-minute emergency dentistry. With that said, we completely understand wanting to avoid the latter. That’s why we’ve dedicated this next section to covering our recommendations for preventing serious dental injuries!
Simply put, your six-month dental checkups and cleanings are beyond crucial when it comes to maintaining a strong and healthy smile. There are a few reasons for this. To begin, the X-rays and visual exam allow our Bartlesville dentist to catch early signs of damage or disease as well as oral cancer. As for the cleaning portion, the special tools we use can remove calcified plaque known as tartar. These periodic appointments also give patients a great opportunity to ask questions about their oral health, including how to improve their oral hygiene regimen at home and which products are best for their specific dental needs.
One of the most effective ways to prevent dental emergencies is to practice routine preventive care. That includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash each evening to help you remove plaque in-between visits. Remember, using the right products matters! You should have a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoridated toothpaste, and antimicrobial mouthwash. It’s also important to have floss that you actually use. For example, if you don’t like traditional string floss, you can try adding a water flosser to your regimen.
Have you been told that soda, candy, and other sweet treats cause cavities? That’s just one way that what you eat impacts your oral health! As a result, we encourage our patients to be mindful about their meals. While everything is fine in moderation, we recommend filling up on smile-friendly foods when you can, like vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables as well as calcium-rich products. When you do indulge in something that’s high in added sugar, try rinsing thoroughly with clean water and brushing your teeth about 20 minutes later.
If you play a contact sport, you should always wear a mouthguard. In fact, surfers, skateboarders, and other athletes that participate in solo sports are even being encouraged to wear one now! After all, all it takes is one bad fall for your day on the water or at the park to turn into an afternoon in your emergency dentist’s chair.
Note: If you suffer from chronic teeth grinding, then we also recommend wearing a nightguard while you sleep.
Many patients think that since their teeth are strong and sharp, they can be used as tools to open everything from plastic bags to bottle caps. That’s not the case. On a similar note, you also shouldn’t use your teeth to clip your nails or hold your keys! This can result in numerous dental injuries, including chipped and fractured teeth.
The costs for emergency care can vary dramatically depending on what services you need. While we can’t give you a cost over the phone, you can get a more accurate estimate when you visit our office for your emergency appointment. Treatment could be as simple as getting a prescription to reduce your infection or as complex as having a root canal or extraction. Either way, the last thing you should do is put off treatment and allow your issue to worsen.
In any emergency, it’s important to react quickly and appropriately; that’s why we want our patients to be well-educated so that they’re prepared in the worst-case scenario. To that end, you’ll need to be well-informed about dental emergencies in general. Here are some questions that are commonly asked of an emergency dentist in Bartlesville; feel free to mention any additional concerns you might have during your next visit.