Having a dental emergency can be both confusing and scary. What should you do? Can you get an appointment soon? And is this a big problem or something smaller?
At our San Antonio, TX dental office, we can normally see patients the same day that you call us at 210-819-5233. If you are a patient of ours, you can use an after-hours number to call for help. But when should you call? Here is a list of small and big dental emergencies as well as advice on when to call or what to do in the meantime.
Handling Small Dental Emergencies
You bit your lip or tongue really hard. This isn’t just the occasional bite because your teeth slipped while chewing. This is a hard bite, often from falling or injuring yourself. The key here is to see if you are bleeding. If so, use a sterile gauze or cloth to stop the bleeding. If not, use OTC non-aspirin pain relievers and cold packs to manage the pain.
You cut your lip, tongue, or inside of your cheek. If you have a shallow cut that’s bleeding a bit, your priority is to stop the bleeding. Using a sterile gauze or cloth, apply pressure to the cut. If the bleeding stops, call us so we can help determine what to do next. If the bleeding won’t stop, please visit your emergency room as soon as possible.
You see or taste blood after brushing and flossing. Not all bleeding is the same. Some people can bleed some after cleaning their teeth. This is often a sign of gum disease. Unless the bleeding won’t stop, call us during business hours for an appointment to treat gum disease.
Something you ate is hard and stuck between your teeth. It’s not hard to get something stuck between your teeth that hurts. Popcorn is often the culprit. If this happens, carefully swish with clean water and use dental floss to gently remove it. Just don’t use a fork or even a toothpick. Trying too hard with those could damage your gums.
Handling Big Dental Emergencies
You have a deep cut to your lip, tongue, or inside of your cheek. If the cut is deep, you need to stop the bleeding. As with a shallow cut, apply direct pressure with a sterile gauze or cloth. Go to your emergency room if the bleeding will not stop, as that’s your biggest concern here. If it does stop, call us immediately.
You chipped a tooth. When you chip your tooth, you’re hurting the enamel. There are no nerve endings there, so you might not be in any pain. However, any event bad enough to chip enamel most likely caused more damage than you can see. It’s best to call us immediately for an emergency appointment.
One of your dental crowns is loose or came out. If you have a dental crown that’s come loose or comes out, put it back on your tooth. Then put dental cement (available in most drug stores) to re-adhere the crown to the tooth. This is just a temporary fix, so call us immediately afterward.
One of your fillings came out. Fillings are not necessarily designed to last forever, so it’s not uncommon to have one fall out even without an accident. If it does, do not worry about the filling. Use dental cement to fill in the cavity. Then call us for an emergency appointment at our San Antonio, TX dental office.
You have a very bad toothache. Sometimes a toothache is caused by something lodged along the gumline. Try gently using dental floss to get rid of anything there. If that won’t work, call us immediately. Take some OTC pain relievers to help manage your pain.
You are having a lot of trouble opening or closing your mouth. If your jaw is stiff, this could be a sign of TMD. Call us as soon as possible for an emergency appointment. However, if your cannot open or close your jaw, go to your emergency room instead.
A part of a tooth broke off. If you broke a tooth, gather up any pieces you can and rinse them with water. Stop any bleeding, and use cold packs to reduce the swelling and pain. Then call our San Antonio, TX dental office immediately.
A tooth is loose. If you have a tooth that feel loose, try your best to leave it alone. The more you play with it, the greater the chance it can come out completely. Call us immediately for an emergency appointment.
A tooth has fallen out. Get the tooth, rinse it gently, and keep it in a small container with just enough milk or water to cover it. Call our office immediately and bring the tooth with you. Again, if you cannot stop any bleeding, visit your emergency room instead.
If you have a dental emergency and are not sure what to do, start by calling us at 210-819-5233 immediately.