When you experience a serious injury, the proper course of action is to visit the hospital. The same goes for dental emergencies; however, dentist’s offices are usually open only during regular business hours, so these emergencies must be treated differently. Depending on the scenario, it is important to follow these guidelines to ensure the best possible treatment for your dental emergency.

A Knocked-Out Tooth

Getting a tooth knocked out can be a dramatic emergency situation. It is common to feel woozy because of the blood loss, but the most important thing you must do in any emergency situation is to remain calm. If you follow these appropriate steps, there is a much better chance that your tooth can be preserved and replanted into your mouth:

-Pick up the lost tooth by the crown (top) in order to avoid spreading bacteria to the root.
-Rinse the tooth gently under water to make sure that it is clean and free of debris. You do not want to remove any tissue that is attached, so avoid scrubbing it. Do not use soap and do not dry the tooth. It is important to keep it wet.
-Place the tooth back in its socket and bite down to hold it in place. This will be painful, but if you can do it, it will greatly increase the likelihood of your tooth’s survival.
-If you can’t, keep the tooth in an emergency tooth preservation kit, in a glass of milk, or in your mouth next to your cheek.
-Call your dentist immediately and book the soonest visit.

If the tooth is only loosened and not completely knocked out, reposition the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place until a dentist can splint the tooth to adjacent teeth.

A Cracked Tooth

If your tooth has been cracked, it usually means that the inside of your tooth has also been damaged and you may need a root canal. Once you have determined that your tooth is indeed cracked, you should follow these recommended steps.

-Rinse your mouth carefully with warm water.
-If the crack is caused by trauma, apply ice to reduce swelling.
-Take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol but not Aspirin, to relieve the pain.
-Do not apply a painkiller, such as Orajel, to the gum because it could burn through tissue.
-Call your dentist immediately and book the soonest visit.

Facial Tissue Damage

If the injury sustained is located inside the mouth anywhere on the lips, cheeks, mouth or tongue, it is considered a dental injury. This could come in the form of a puncture wound, laceration or tear. We recommend you do the following to treat It:

-Clean the area immediately with warm water.
-If the bleeding is coming from the tongue, apply gauze to reduce the flow.
-Take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol but not Aspirin, to relieve the pain.

Any injury of this type should be handled by your dentist, but if you really cannot wait to see a dentist, seek out the hospital emergency. Remember to never use ibuprofen, such as Aspirin, to deal with dental emergencies because it is an anticoagulant that causes excessive blood flow. Your dentist might have after-hours contact information, and many even make themselves available if the emergency is extremely severe. Always carry your dentist’s contact information and give them a call in case they are available.