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What Counts as a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergency dentists Grand Rapids MI

Dental emergency dentists Grand Rapids MI

It’s normal to feel worried or panicked when something is wrong with your smile. Our Grand Rapids dentists understand this but ask that you use discretion when evaluating your oral health issue. Not everything is worthy of immediate treatment or fits into the category of dental emergencies.

Here’s what classifies as a dental emergency and when we recommend seeking care from our team of dentists.

How to Tell It’s an Emergency

As soon as any type of pain is felt in your mouth, it can be easy to label it as an emergency. While it is wise to ask our dentists about discomfort you may be feeling, not everything is severe enough for a visit.

Urgent dental emergencies include:

  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Broken or cracked tooth
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Persistent or severe toothache
  • Soft tissue injuries (to cheeks, gums, tongue, or lips) that result in bleeding

Are you experiencing one or more of the above? Call our Grand Rapids dental office right away and our team may evaluate your teeth and gums. Appropriate treatment will then be determined to alleviate your condition.

What You Can Do at Home (Before Seeing Us)

It goes without saying that a dental emergency is best treated by our dentists. But how should you manage the situation until you are able to be seen? Here are steps you should follow for a handful of dental emergencies.

Knocked-out Tooth

  • Find the tooth and grab it by the crown (top).
  • Rinse the tooth off with warm water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub.
  • If possible, face the tooth the right way, then try to put the tooth back into the socket. Baby tooth? No need for this process.
  • If not possible, try holding the tooth in your mouth as you travel to our office or placing it in a container of milk.
  • Call and arrive at our office within an hour of your tooth being knocked out to increase its chance of being saved.

Broken or Cracked Tooth

  • Save any pieces of the tooth.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water and rinse any broken pieces of tooth.
  • Apply gauze to the area if there is bleeding.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip to keep any swelling down.
  • Call our dental office ASAP.

Dental Abscess

  • If you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that is painful, contact our office immediately. You may have a dental abscess.
  • Until you’ve been seen, rinse with a mild saltwater solution several times a day (½ tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of water) to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface.

Prolonged or Severe Toothache

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean out any food debris.
  • Floss gently to remove any food caught between teeth.
  • Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • Take over-the-counter ibuprofen as needed for pain relief.
  • Call our dental office ASAP.

Can Some Dental Injuries Be Prevented?

For the most part, dental emergencies are unpredictable. Yet, there are a few easy precautions you can take in your everyday life to save yourself from injury.

  • Don’t Deviate From Your Oral Hygiene Routine
  • Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports
  • Pace Yourself with Hard Snacks

Don’t Deviate From Your Oral Hygiene Routine

A great place to start is to regularly practice good oral hygiene habits. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing daily. It’s a bonus if you integrate an ADA-approved mouthwash into your routine to combat dental plaque.

Wear a Mouthguard While Playing Sports

If you play contact sports in your free time, our dentists recommend wearing a protective mouthguard. When you put one on, you are shielding your teeth and absorbing intense hits to your mouth. Mouthguards are an inexpensive way to prevent costly dental damage.

Types of sports or recreational activities that call for mouthguards include but are not limited to football, basketball, soccer, rugby, and lacrosse.

Pace Yourself with Hard Snacks

It’s enjoyable to munch on popcorn during a movie or drink an ice-cold beverage on a summer day. What’s not so fun is a broken tooth. The good news is that a broken or chipped tooth can be avoided if you refrain from chewing on kernels, ice, or hard candy. It can be hard to break a habit of this nature, but your teeth will thank you!

Don’t Push Dental Pain Aside

If you are in any kind of pain that is not subsiding with at-home methods, please call our office immediately. Our staff will do their best to get you in as quickly as possible to avoid the passage of critical time.

We urge you to not ignore dental pain or tooth damage. Delaying treatment can negatively impact your oral health and increase your risk of long-term complications.

Depending on how severe your condition is, we may recommend that you first go to a nearby emergency room. If for any reason we are unable to treat you right away or you have sustained injuries in addition to your mouth, please visit the ER.

Take Action: Seek Dental Care ASAP

Don’t delay if you’ve got serious dental pain on your hands. Our emergency dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, can provide you with immediate care and get you back to feeling like yourself again. Call Contemporary Family Dental today at (616) 209-3969 or schedule an appointment online.