Dental Emergency Q and A Courtesy of Arlington TX Dentist Dr. Marty Cloin:
Q: Dental Emergencies Arlington, TX
A: If you're not sure if a dental problem is an emergency, we offer this advice: If it hurts, it's an emergency. This is because even injuries that seem small can affect the living tissues inside the teeth. Quick treatment improves the odds of saving injured or damaged teeth.
Any obvious damage to a tooth should be treated as soon as possible. Chips or fractures can affect the living tissue inside the tooth, causing more problems in the future. We can prevent the damage from getting worse with early treatment.
The same is true of a lost filling or crown. Even if you don't have symptoms, the tooth has lost its support and it could easily become damaged. Pieces could break off or crumble, and you would need more extensive treatment. If you see us right away, there's a good chance we will be able to repair the damage more easily.
Q: Injured tooth: What should I do?
A: As with any trauma to the mouth, you should consult with us immediately to determine if treatment is required. We will examine the area and take necessary x-rays.
If you are in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you may want to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as Advil or aspirin. If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid chewing on the injured tooth and avoid extreme temperatures.
Q: Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
A: If there is no pain and the chip is small, it's up to you to decide if, when and how the tooth should be repaired. Depending on the size of the chip, it can be smoothed or cosmetically corrected. Ask us to explain the options available to you. If a filling or artificial tooth becomes chipped, it should be replaced. Cracked or broken teeth should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Keep in mind that cracks are not always visible, even on x-rays. Symptoms may involve pain while chewing and sensitivity to cold and possibly hot foods and liquids as well as air, which may over time, become more pronounced.
Q: Tooth knocked out - Teeth knocked out
A: To improve the chances of the tooth being saved, Dr. Cloin suggests doing the following:
Q: Sports Safety: Avoiding tooth and mouth injuries
A: In children and adults, sports injuries are common. Dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports.
About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth.
If you or your children enjoy sports or other high-risk activities, protect yourself. We recommend the use of custom made mouth guards. Mouth guards are believed to prevent about 200,000 mouth injuries a year. Give our office a call and we can discuss the professional custom fit mouth guard benefits with you.
Q: Partially dislodged tooth
A: Sometimes a tooth is knocked loose or comes partway out of its socket because of an injury. We call this an extruded tooth. If the tooth is not broken, and the nerve and blood vessels are still attached, the tooth may be saved. To save the tooth, you need to contact us right away. Leave the tooth in your mouth even though it is partially out of the socket. Take an over the counter pain reliever and apply a cold pack to relieve pain until you reach our office.
Q: Lost filling or crown
A: Sometimes fillings or crowns fall out. In some cases, a filling or crown may become loose because there is decay underneath it. The decay destroys part of the tooth, so it no longer has a tight hold on the crown or filling. These situations are rarely an emergency. However, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see us as soon as possible.
Don't wait too long. What is left of the tooth will not be as strong as your crown. It could be damaged more without the crown to protect it. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move into the space where the crown was. If this happens your crown may no longer fit.
Q: Severe Pain (Not from trauma)
A: Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. At other times, you may have dental pain and not know why. For example, sudden pain may be caused by pieces of food that come in contact with a decayed area of the tooth. Food, heat or cold may create pressure near the nerve and cause pain. The nerve inside the tooth also may be exposed if you lose a filling or crown.
Pain that gets worse over time can also be caused by food that's stuck between your tooth and gum. If you don't brush and floss well, the bits of food remain. Bacteria multiply in this area, and an infection of the tooth and gum may develop. This type of infection is called an abscess. It can be at the root end of the tooth (in bone) or in the gums. An abscess can be a serious health problem if it is not treated. If swelling inside or outside of the mouth is occurring, you need to seek help immediately either through our office or your medical doctor.
Call us to make an appointment so that we can evaluate the cause of your pain and get you back to health quickly.
Q: Injuries of the lip and gum
A: Trauma to the lips, tongue and inside of the mouth is quite common. The soft flesh of the lips and their exposed location make them vulnerable to injury. Any cut inside the mouth usually bleeds heavily because of the rich supply of blood to the area.
Many lip and tongue injuries occur during sports activities. They often can be prevented through the use of a mouth guard. We can create a professional, custom fit mouth guard for you. Contact our office for more information.
At home, you can clean injured skin surfaces with mild soapy water and a soft, clean cloth. To clean cuts inside the mouth, rinse with salt water or a hydrogen peroxide solution (one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water). Be sure not to swallow this peroxide rinse. However, do not be concerned if it foams. This is what the rinse normally does when it contacts mouth tissue.
If your lip is swollen or bruised, apply a cold compress. If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth for at least 5 minutes. Using ice can help limit swelling, bleeding and discomfort. Wrap crushed ice in clean gauze or a clean piece of cloth and hold it on the affected area.
Q: Pizza palate aka Pizza Burn
A: What is it? Your pizza arrives, you're hungry and it smells good. You take out the first piece, take a big bite..... And burn the roof of your mouth. Now you have pizza palate!
Other hot foods can also burn the roof of your mouth. These types of burns have come to be called "pizza palate" because they are most commonly caused by pizza.
These burns are usually minor and heal within a few days. Warm salt water rinses after meals will help keep the area clean. To make the rinse, dissolve 1/8 tsp of salt in 8 ounces of water.