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How To Handle An After-Hours Holiday Dental Emergency

It happens to the best of us. Your child is thrilled to receive a new bike for Christmas, only to take a tumble from said bike moments later, resulting in a knocked-out tooth. When dental problems occur, it’s relatively straightforward to tell what is an emergency and what can wait...right? What you, as the patient, see as a non-emergency could be different than what your dentist has to say regarding a specific tooth-related injury. 


If you find yourself faced with a dental emergency at an inopportune moment, follow these dental emergency tips and instructions from our experts. 


The Most Common Holiday Dental Emergencies 

The easiest way to deal with a dental emergency is to avoid it in the first place. While not always possible, there are always ways to lower your risk of chipping a tooth or losing a filling. Keep these tips in mind to keep your mouth whole, happy, and healthy.


The most common dental emergencies include:


Always Contact Your Dental Office ASAP 

It never hurts to contact your dental office regardless of the hour when faced with a dental emergency. Elite Dental & Denture PC is always here to help during the holidays, and if our office is closed for the day, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach us. Leave us a message, and follow the instructions in the recording for what to do in a dental emergency. 


Contacting your dental office ASAP may be the determining factor in being able to save a tooth. 


A Broken Tooth

If you’ve found yourself with a broken tooth, save any pieces, if possible. Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater, and also carefully rinse the pieces of the tooth. If you experience persistent bleeding, apply gauze for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply an ice pack to the area to aid in reducing any swelling. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to minimize discomfort. 


A Chipped Tooth

If there is a large piece of the tooth that has chipped off, save the piece. Rinse your mouth with warm water. If the chip catches on your tongue or cheek and causes discomfort, apply gauze over it to protect the inside of your mouth.


A Tooth That Has Been Knocked-Out

Retrieve the tooth and gently rinse the root with water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue. Try to put the tooth back in the socket with it facing the right way, but never force it. If you’re unable to reinsert it, place the tooth in a cup of milk or saltwater. Because knocked out teeth have the highest chance of being saved when they replaced within 1 hour, seek care immediately.


A Severe Toothache

Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater mix to help dislodge any food particles that may be causing irritation. Brush and floss the area gently. Apply an ice pack to the outside of your cheek in the painful area. Take aspirin to help relieve pain.


An Abscess 

If you have a painful swelling on your gum just below a tooth, you may have an abscess. Rinse with salt water to help relieve pain and reduce swelling.


A Cracked or Lost Crown

Save any piece of the damaged restoration. Cover the area with gauze if the crack is catching on your tongue or gums. Slip the crown back onto the tooth if possible, but do not glue it down unless you’re using toothpaste or denture adhesive.


A Broken Filling 

Save any pieces of a lost filling, if possible. Cover the exposed area with gauze if the lost filling has left your tooth with any sharp edges. 


Protecting Your Teeth From a Holiday Mishap 

Always use common sense and treat your teeth with care to avoid holiday dental emergencies. Gearing children and adults with mouthguards while playing contact sports or while engaged in physical activities can help to protect teeth from harm. If you find yourself in an unfortunate dental emergency this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact Elite Dental & Denture PC so we can help!

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