Mouth injuries are common, and can be quite frightening. Injuries to the teeth, gums, and other soft tissues in the mouth often bleed copiously, even when they are not serious, leading to panic, especially in parents who have found themselves caring for a child with a mouth injury. Luckily, mouth injuries and issues are usually easily treated, often just with home care. And even those injuries requiring an emergency trip to the dentist or doctor will generally heal quickly. The mouth is one of the fastest-healing areas of the body.
Some of the most common types of injuries patients will find themselves seeking emergency dental services for include toothaches, chipped or broken teeth, knocked out teeth, extruded (partially dislodged) teeth, objects caught in between teeth, lost fillings, lost crowns, broken braces and wires, loose braces brackets and bands, tooth abscesses, and soft tissue injuries.
In truth, many of the above can be treated at home, or can at least wait until regular dental office hours for treatment. For instance, a persistent toothache that doesn’t keep an individual from continuing with daily tasks, should be regularly treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to keep both pain and inflammation at bay, until they can be seen. Clove oil is an excellent, natural topical treatment for toothaches and soft tissue pain.
Lost fillings and crowns can generally also wait for your general dentist. Most drugstores carry a temporary adhesive or cement that is manufactured solely for the purpose of re-adhering dental crowns and caps that have come loose until patients can be seen by their regular dental practitioner. This fixative can be a big help to a patient who loses a crown during a vacation or when away on business.
Dental wax is another compound that can be hugely helpful with emergency dental treatment. Dental wax can help temporarily fix loose braces wires and brackets, and limit irritation from orthodontic devices as well.
Soft tissue injuries can be some of the most frightening types of injuries, because they often bleed so much. Making sure to check the site of the injury carefully is most important. If the bleeding can be controlled with moist pressure (or even just a tincture of time), and if the cut isn’t deep enough to require stitches, it is often best to treat these injuries at home. Using NSAIDs to control pain and inflammation, and cold packs to control swelling when possible, are two of the best initial lines of defense. Once the bleeding is controlled, mild salt water rinses can help with pain and assist in healing and infection control.
So when is emergency dental treatment necessary?
– Bleeding is uncontrolled – Cut is deep enough to require stitching – Pain cannot be mitigated by use of OTC medications – A tooth has been knocked out or fractured/broken – An object is caught between teeth and cannot be dislodged naturally or by flossing
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, please give our Ann Arbor dental office a call at 734-677-2156.
–Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist