Dental emergencies accounted for over 900,000 emergency visits in 2009. Though many people have a tendency to ignore dental problems more than they’d ignore other medical problems, immediate care is almost always the best way to resolve major dental emergencies.
Broken or knocked out teeth
Your first impulse may be to toss those knocked out or broken chips of tooth after an accident, but this is a mistake. Save any pieces of the tooth (or teeth) you can find, and get to the dentist as quickly as possible.
If you knock out a full tooth, find it as quickly as you can and hold it by the crown while rinsing it with water. If you can get to a dentist within an hour, they may be able to surgically reinsert the tooth into its socket. If emergency dental care isn’t an option, put the tooth into a cup of milk or water with a pinch of salt. Any product with a cell growth medium in it will do, as well. This should help preserve the tooth, but you should still get to a dentist as soon as you can.
Fillings or crowns
Fully 72% of Americans have smiles supplemented by caps, crowns or fillings, and 23% of dental emergencies can be traced back to something going wrong with these dental repairs. Cement can weaken over time, a crown might be knocked off, or a filling could fail. Save your restorations if you can and get to a dentist quickly. Lost fillings can be replaced by wax or sugar-free gum until you can have them restored by a dentist.
Pain is a good indicator of dental trouble, especially for children with cavities. Over 25% of children between the ages of two to five, and 50% of children ages 12-15, suffer from tooth decay, which should be dealt with as quickly as possible. However, not all emergencies cause pain. You should also watch out for isolated oral bleeding, pus from the gums, facial swelling and difficulty breathing, as these are all signs that you need to get to the dentist right away.