When dental emergencies like a broken jaw or tooth loss arise, they require immediate attention from a dentist. However, you may be unable to meet your dentist soon after the incident. Learning what to do while waiting for emergency dental treatment can be essential to avoiding an adverse situation, especially if you face a severe injury. 

For example, you can learn how to stop excessive bleeding after your tooth is dislodged from the gum. The preemptive steps you take during an emergency are crucial to your well-being and supplement what your dentist does. After accessing dental services, your dentist will apply their professional skills to better manage the emergency condition and help you fully recover. 

When seeking professional help, consider working with a highly experienced dentist who understands the procedures to undertake in an emergency. They should also be calm and provide information to help you understand why specific treatment is necessary, allowing you to give informed consent. With a professional’s help, you will address and resolve the emerging problem appropriately. 

Tips to Help You During a Dental Emergency 

A dental emergency involves an unexpected dental condition posing serious risks like excessive bleeding and tooth loss that require urgent dental attention. The situation often catches you off guard and leaves little time to think and react. Based on this, having a starting point to help you react accordingly is beneficial, as you save time and avoid doing anything to worsen the situation. 

The most important steps to take during a dental emergency are: 

  1. Assess the Type of Dental Emergency You Face 

Although you may experience alarming signs like bleeding teeth and gums after an injury, they do not directly translate to dental emergencies. Learning about circumstances classified as emergencies is essential, as you have a better chance of acting immediately. 

Some commonly reported dental emergencies require immediate action: 

  • A Bitten Tongue 

A tongue injury can be painful and harmful to oral health, as the tongue is a sensitive organ. Your tongue may suffer trauma after accidentally biting it when chewing or speaking. Some patients may bite their tongue in sleep or when playing sports, warranting immediate attention. 

Your assessment should help you determine whether the tongue bite is severe, and you can request someone to check it for you. Many cases involve minor injuries that do not require serious medical intervention. However, If the tissue is visibly damaged, consider seeking additional medical assistance by calling your dentist because of a dental emergency. 

  • Broken Brackets or Wire 

If braces are part of your orthodontic treatment, you may be prone to broken brackets or dental wires. You may break your bracket or wire if you eat hard foods that place a lot of pressure on the braces' alignment. 

A broken bracket slows down the braces' re-alignment process, making it necessary to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If the wire also breaks, you risk suffering injuries because the sharp and pointy ends are in contact with your inner lips and cheeks. 

Failure to contact your dentist to replace the broken wire can be hazardous, as the open wounds can quickly develop into infections. To avoid complications, treat the situation as an emergency and seek immediate medical intervention. 

  • Dislodged Tooth 

Your teeth are supported along your jawbone by your roots, maintaining them in a single file. You may suffer a dislodged tooth after facing high-impact force from sports, an accident, or an attack. The condition involves having your tooth move from its secure position on the jawbone, but it does not fall off the mouth entirely. 

Dislodged teeth are painful because your enamel is detached from the gum and jawbone tissue. You are also likely to suffer severe bleeding, making it essential to contact your dentist immediately. 

If you have more than one dislodged tooth, you are at a higher risk of infection and excessive bleeding. Your urgent reaction to the situation is essential, and you will need to undertake some first-aid procedures to stop the bleeding. 

  • Severe or Persistent Toothache 

A toothache interferes with your daily activities and well-being because it causes pain along your dental structure and headaches. Toothaches often indicate a more severe condition requiring your dentist’s assessment, so you must seek medical intervention after their onset. 

You should include this information during your first consultation if you have experienced toothaches for a long time. A history of toothache incidents helps diagnose the problem properly, as your dentist may detect additional symptoms indicating a severe infection. 

Toothache intensities may vary from mild and dull to sharp and persistent. Since you may be experiencing the condition for the first time, your dentist will recommend treating it as an emergency, regardless of its fluctuating intensity. 

  • Dental Abscess 

A dental abscess is a severe tooth infection that arises after prolonged exposure to harmful bacteria. Since the microorganisms feed on sugar and other particles in your body, they produce toxic waste that corrodes healthy gum and jawbone tissue. In response, your immune system fights the bacteria using white blood cells. 

Some white blood cells die off, accumulate, and form pus in a tooth pocket, resulting in an abscess. A dental abscess is often painful and uncomfortable because the pus pockets push against your nerves and other sensitive dentine parts. 

Common signs of a dental abscess include persistent bad breath and an inability to chew or bite because of sharp pain. If left untreated, the condition creates serious complications, including bodily infections, so you need to seek immediate medical attention. 

  • Tooth Loss 

Your teeth may fall after a severe gum infection, making your gums unable to nourish and support the tooth. Suffering injuries after an accident like falling, a car impact, or a physical attack may also cause your teeth to fall off, resulting in a dental emergency. 

Losing your tooth can be alarming, but your dentist can restore it by applying the necessary treatment. Based on this, contact your dental team soon after an injury to receive appropriate guidelines. 

  • A Chipped or Broken Tooth 

Although enamels are sturdy and durable, they are prone to breakage and chipping upon exposure to excessive force. For example, participating in high-impact sports without a mouth guard can cause tooth breakage or chipping, leaving you vulnerable to severe injuries. Your dentist recommends treating the situation as an emergency, as the chip or breakage angle injures your tongue and inner cheeks. 

  1. Remain Calm 

Upon establishing that your condition is an emergency, you must remain calm, as panic may inhibit your ability to find workable solutions. Failure to remain calm can be detrimental because rash decisions will likely worsen the situation. For example, suffering from a dislodged tooth may cause panic and make you pull the entire tooth out, which is unnecessary. 

 If you are the patient facing injury, the pain may alarm you and cause unrest, which is understandable. Nevertheless, consider calming your mind by reassuring yourself that everything will be okay to avoid acting out of panic. 

When your child or another loved one suffers a dental emergency, quickly assess the situation and reassure them. As you do this, you need to find first-aid solutions to reduce the impact and pain they face. You can obtain information from an online search or by calling a professional to help calm you down, as they also provide instructions. 

  1. Use Water to Clean Your Mouth 

Many dental emergencies cause bleeding and open wounds, leaving you vulnerable to infections. The bleeding also obstructs you from checking the severity of your injury, making it difficult to determine the issue. You can avoid this by cleaning your mouth with warm, salty water. 

The saltiness helps prevent bacteria from spreading and entering the wound by creating harsh conditions for survival. However, you do not have to mix salt in if you fear it may worsen your pain, especially after a significant injury. 

Since your injury is fresh, avoid using other cleaning agents like mouthwash unless your dentist approves because their chemical composition may irritate the wound. Sticking to water is effective, as it provides a mild solution to protect you from bacteria. 

  1. Call Your Dentist 

After managing your situation by cleaning your mouth, you should call your dentist to inform them of your emergency. Communicating with your dentist is crucial because you give them information in advance about your injuries. In return, they prepare for treatment while waiting for your arrival at the clinic. 

When speaking to a dental professional, you should inform them of all symptoms to help them make an overall assessment. You can also briefly describe the circumstances leading to your accident, as it may give your dentist insight into possible medical complications you face. 

If you still need a preferred dentist, you can conduct a quick online search or ask a friend to recommend a trusted team. The minimum expectations when choosing a dental team are a quick response time and detailed instructions over the phone. After they provide initial dental services, you can request a service transfer to your trusted dentist to continue with treatment. 

  1. Follow Your Dentist’s Pre-Treatment Advice Over the Phone 

Once your dentist is on the line, they provide first-aid guidelines to help you manage the emergency pending your treatment at the clinic. You need to listen closely and follow the instructions you receive to promote a smoother recovery process. 

If your dentist directs you to use unavailable tools or medication, inform them of your options to help them modify their instructions. They can also advise you on alternative home remedies to manage pain and bleeding and protect you from unnecessary discomfort. 

  1. Store a Fallen Tooth Safely 

Retaining your tooth after it falls out is highly advisable, as your dentist can perform a restorative procedure. By retaining it, you also avoid extra costs for tooth replacement treatments like crown replacements, mainly if you have yet to account for the services. 

Storing the fallen tooth in milk while waiting for your dental visit is the most suitable option. Milk contains high calcium levels and other essential components for proper preservation. Alternatively, you can fold it in a light cloth for safekeeping if you lack access to milk after the emergency. 

Since your tooth is a living component, consider seeing your dentist as soon as possible. Doing so improves your chances of a complete tooth restoration, and you can return to your everyday life upon recovery. 

  1. Take Pain Medication 

High pain levels make emergency response procedures challenging, exposing you to possible complications. You can manage pain levels by taking medication while visiting your dental clinic, especially if you must wait a few hours before an appointment. 

When choosing pain medications, consider your allergies and tolerance to specific brands to avoid adverse reactions or ineffective results. You can also consult a pharmacy attendant to advise you on effective medication for dental pain for faster relief. 

  1. Take Photos of the Emergency Condition 

Sometimes, describing your injury may be difficult because you are in a high-pressure situation. Additionally, you may need clarification on the specific injury, primarily if the pain is distributed throughout your dental structure. Taking photos is necessary to give your dentist a chance to assess the condition before you arrive at the clinic.   

If you are alone, you can use a mirror or your front camera to take photos inside your mouth. Working with someone is ideal, as they can access different angles in the mouth. 

While taking photos is advantageous, it is not mandatory in a dental emergency. If you are in severe pain or bleeding significantly, seeking medical attention is critical, so you should visit the closest dental clinic within the shortest time possible. 

  1. Find Your Medical Documents 

When making arrangements to visit the nearest dental clinic, you should gather your medical documents to facilitate a smooth admission and treatment process. Your medical insurance card is the most crucial document, but you can also bring your allergy information card and other medical notes from ongoing treatment. 

Presenting the information is helpful for patients receiving intensive treatment for diseases like diabetes and cancer, as the dental emergency may be linked to the treatment's side effects. Your dentist will thus be better equipped to handle the situation if you provide the necessary medical documents. 

  1. Change Your Schedules 

Even after facing a dental emergency, you may be subject to a strict schedule at work or home, especially if you have children to care for. Despite the circumstances, your dentist will strongly advise you not to postpone treatment or change your schedule. If at work, inform your direct supervisor about your emergency and request time off to visit your dentist. 

Patients working at home should also request a third party to babysit or watch their pets to avoid postponing treatment. If you are far from a dental clinic, consider rerouting to the nearest town to access dental services for your well-being. 

  1. Go Straight to the Dental Clinic 

A hospital's accident and emergency section is often busy as it receives patients experiencing diverse medical emergencies. Although they can receive you in a dental emergency, you are less likely to receive priority treatment than someone facing a grievous bodily injury. 

As a result, your condition may worsen as you wait for treatment, and your dentist may lack your medical history to make a proper diagnosis and assessment. You are, therefore, in a better position to seek emergency dental treatment by going straight to a dental clinic. 

Since you have already called your dentist, they should be ready when you arrive. You experience a shorter waiting time and receive prompt treatment because your dentist already understands the nature of your emergency. 

On your way to the clinic, avoid making stops because you may extend the waiting duration to your detriment. This is especially important to consider if you have a continuous bleed, which exposes you to significant blood loss. After arriving at the clinic, you will provide your identity details and proceed straight into treatment, giving you a better chance of fully recovering. 

Find a Dentist Near Me 

A dental emergency can be scary because the injuries often seem severe. You also need to react on the spot, which gives you limited time to process the situation and provide the needed solutions. Based on this, you should understand what to do in a dental emergency to prevent dangerous situations like excessive bleeding from continuing. While a dental emergency can be stressful, you do not have to worry about the condition if you have spoken to your dental team, who guided you through first aid steps. Therefore, working with a trusted dental team is essential to helping you remain calm and understand what to do. 

At Ganji Dental, you will work with an experienced team of dentists ready to help you navigate a dental emergency. Our experience helping hundreds of patients over the years is essential to helping you avoid dental complications as you receive quality services to remedy injuries. You can also count on us to provide constant support throughout treatment, as we understand how intense the emergency may be. Our team is ready to assist any patient facing a dental emergency in Hawthorne, California. For more information on what to do during a dental emergency, call us today at 310-643-8045.