When a serious dental issue occurs, it may not be able to wait until your next routine dental appointment. This type of situation is often deemed a dental emergency.

Still, even in the case of a dental emergency, there may be some steps that you can take before reaching the dentist's office. Here are a few conditions that may be considered a dental emergency and what you should do to start treatment between the time of the incident and the time of your arrival at your dentist's office:

Serious Tooth Pain

Serious tooth pain usually occurs because of a deep cavity, a dental infection, or dental trauma that has inflamed the dental nerves. The tooth may require root canal therapy to remedy the situation. However, until you reach the dentist, you can do the following:

  • Take an over-the-counter oral pain medication.
  • Apply an analgesic gel to the tooth.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm salt water repeatedly.
  • Brush and floss to remove any trapped debris.

A Dislodged Crown

A dental crown may fall out because it gets caught on chewy or sticky foods. Once the device becomes dislodged, the underlying tooth is exposed. This exposure could result in pain or greater dental sensitivity. Here are a few things you can do until you arrive at the dentist's office:

  • Apply a bit of toothpaste to the exposed tooth before placing the crown back into position. The toothpaste can act as an adhesive to hold the crown in place.
  • Apply a denture adhesive to the tooth to hold the crown in place.

A Dislodged Filling

If a filling becomes dislodged, you may immediately experience heightened sensitivity in the tooth. To reduce the sensitivity and protect the tooth until you reach the dentist, you can:

  • Brush with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
  • Chew a piece of sugarless gum, and then place it in the hole left by the missing filling.

A Chipped Tooth

If you chip your tooth, you may feel bits of broken tooth material in your mouth. Here are a few things you should do immediately:

  • Remove the broken tooth material and save it for the dentist.
  • If there is bleeding due to trauma around the tooth, apply pressure to the bleeding area with a piece of medical gauze.
  • If the area is swollen, apply an ice pack to the outer jaw or lip that covers the affected tooth.

For more information about dental emergencies and what to do when one occurs, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area, like Matthew C. Cheney, DMD.