Doctor D’s Blog

While I was enjoying my few days off, I couldn’t help feeling bad for having the office closed and being unavailable to any of you that had a dental emergency – and as we all know those emergencies have a pesky habit to pop up either during holidays or on the weekends, when your dental office is most likely closed. So, I gathered a few tips for you to survive those few days of waiting for your dentist to see you.

What is the best way to tackle that sudden tooth ache when you can’t see your dentist immediately?

  1. Take Ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin) 600mg every 6 hours – remember not to exceed 2400mg per day – this will help to lower the pain by lowering the inflammation
  2. Take Acetaminophen (Tylenol, extra strength) 500mg – 1 tablet every 6 hours- this will help approach your pain in a different way – do not exceed 2000mg a day of Tylenol!
  3. Taking both of those medications together has best results but DO NOT TAKE IT FOR MORE THEN 3 DAYS
  4. TAKE THESE MEDICATIONS ONLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY ALLERGIES TO THEM, MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT INTERACT WITH ANY OTHER MEDICATIONS YOU ARE ON (you can double check with the pharmacist) AND MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS BASED ON YOUR WEIGHT AND AGE (there are different for children)!

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Broken or chipped teeth

Even though the tooth enamel is the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the body, its strength also has limits. If you are biting on something hard like ice, hard candy, or the odd olive pit – when it was supposed to be pit-less – especially if there was already decay undermining the tooth structure – you can chip or break the tooth. Of course you should see your dentist immediately, but if you can’t :

  • Rinse your mouth with salt water
  • If the tooth is painful – address the pain as previously advised
  • If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of paraffin wax or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your cheek
  • Eat only soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth

If your tooth is knocked out completely:

  • This is a true dental emergency as a lot of times that tooth can be reimplanted as long as it is done within the first 30 minutes
  • Handle the tooth carefully, touching only the crown – the top part of the tooth and not the root- as damage may prevent reimplantation
  • If there is dirt or foreign matter on it, rinse it gently with lukewarm water for no more then 10 seconds
  • If it is possible – try to reinsert the tooth yourself gently without a lot of manipulation, then gently bite on a gauze pad to hold it in place and see your dentist immediately. If you are unable to reinsert it, store the tooth in milk or between your cheek and gum to prevent drying and see your dentist right away

 

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If there is injury to soft tissues in the mouth:

  • Control bleeding by applying pressure with a clean gauze to the injured area
  • Control swelling by applying a cold compress – children can suck on the ice pop
  • Take pain medication as prescribed above

In case of a loose crown:

  • If the crown is in a highly aesthetic area and the tooth underneath is intact, you can try to place the crown back temporarily by putting some Vaseline inside it and placing the crown back on the tooth
  • If you unable to place the crown back or it does not adhere properly, you can try to place some paraffin wax on the tooth to temporarily prevent damage or sensitivity
  • Do not keep a loose crown in your mouth overnight as it may cause suffocation if dislodged!
  • If you find that the crown that is loose is part of an implant – it is imperative that you call the dentist right away. Do not chew with this tooth at all, as further impact may cause the fracture of the tightening screw inside the implant. This damage could be very difficult (and costly) to repair

I hope I covered most of the common dental emergencies in this article, I sincerely hope that none of them will happen to you, but it is good to have some guidelines on hand just in case!

Wishing you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Dr. de Angelis