Tooth decay is a serious problem in the UK as even 25% of children 5 years and under have decay in their teeth. Poor health care can lead to undiscovered dental issues that lay the foundation for major issues later on.
However, even people with the best dental hygiene can end up needing emergency dental work.
If you’re located in Stockport, you might end up needing emergency dental help when you least expect it.
Here are your first 6 steps to take when dental disasters strike.
1. Decide The Level Of Emergency
When you feel like you might have encountered a dental emergency, you need to figure out how severe it is. You might just be encountering temporary pain or you might have done permanent damage to your teeth.
Take a moment to assess the situation. The pain may quickly subside if you give yourself a moment.
A trip to the dentist for an emergency, especially one that turns out to be minor, could be many factors more expensive than a standard visit. In order to avoid unnecessary bills, assess the possibilities.
If you have a toothache, try painkillers. If it persists and causes serious pain and discomfort, this is the reason to call a dentist.
An abscess or an infection in your gums could be more severe than just the pain involved. If left untreated, it could result in a serious medical issue.
If you have fillings that have come loose or have broken, you should seek emergency help. A loose filling could expose the nerves in your mouth and give you unbearable pain.
A cracked, broken, knocked out, or otherwise fractured tooth or crown should be fixed immediately.
2. Wash Your Hands
While your first impulse might be to reach into your mouth and deal with the issue, you need to be sure you wash your hands vigorously. You could have exposed wounds or tissues that could lead to an infection in your mouth. If you have an open abscess, you don’t want to make it worth.
Don’t handle broken teeth or pieces with dirty hands.
Washing your hands with warm and soapy water will also help you to calm down and take a step back. Once your hands are clean, you can start dealing with the problem at hand.
3. Take Your Time
You’re going to need to take a deep breath and calm yourself before you start doing anything. Make sure you save any small broken pieces of teeth. While you might think it’s a lost cause, many dentists can repair even the most desperately broken teeth.
Your only concern is to make sure that you keep them moist. Whole milk is the best way to keep them effectively moist in a fluid that is vital to their ability to be repaired.
Believe it or not, spitting into a small container is also very effective. You or a friend should spit into the container with the teeth in it. The bacteria from your mouth will help keep them alive.
Water will break down teeth in a way that the other liquids won’t. If you’re in a bind, a spoonful of salt in a glass of water will help keep the teeth from being broken down. In the worst case scenario, you can keep the teeth or pieces in your mouth, so long as you can keep from swallowing them.
4. Replace Knocked-Out Teeth
If a tooth was completely knocked out, try to place is back in your mouth. Getting it back in will keep it from drying out and maintain its consistency. Dry teeth can change shape and are more liable to be easily damaged.
If the end of the root is rounded and there are no sharp edges, try to fit it back into the socket. You have a short amount of time to get the tooth back into your mouth and to keep the tooth alive.
Avoid touching the root, as you can cause an infection. Only touch teeth by the top.
Rinse the tooth off with water if it was knocked out of your mouth completely. Avoid any chemicals or cleansing soaps of any kind. Don’t worry about sterility, just general cleanliness.
Be gentle when replacing it and hold it in place until you can get help from a dentist. Find some gauze to bite down on in the interim.
5. Apply Constant Pressure
Like any kind of open wound, constant pressure will keep you from losing blood. If you have access to gloves, this can be helpful in avoiding infection. Cover it with a sterile cloth or gauze if you have that around.
Apply pressure with bare hands if absolutely necessary but use a clean and dry cloth above everything else.
Keep applying pressure for at least 15 minutes and don’t worry about how it looks. Peeking will only allow the wound to bleed more. Leave the blood-soaked cloth if it becomes soggy and simply add more.
6. Call Your Regular Dentist
When you encounter a dental emergency, the first call you should make is to your regular dentist. If this is during normal hours, you can probably rush in and they can move some appointments around.
After hours or on weekends, they may have a call service that could connect you to your dentist. Your regular dentist will charge you much less than an emergency specialist randomly chosen from the directory.
Emergency Dental Issues Happen To Everyone
There’s no telling when you’ll need emergency dental help. Dental emergencies can happen as the result of a car accident, or simply biting into the wrong olive. If you maintain great dental hygiene, you will deal with very few dental emergencies in your lifetime.
If you’re curious how dental health factors in with your overall physical health, check out our report on how it all fits together.