Most of us know what to do in a medical emergency: You call 911 or head to the ER, right? But what if the problem involves a tooth? Fortunately, there are ways to handle dental emergencies, too.
Daniel Park, DDS, offers comprehensive cosmetic, general, and emergency dental services at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California. That means you can always get dental care exactly when you need it most.
If you lose a tooth or filling, Dr. Park recommends taking these steps immediately.
Contact your dentist
First and foremost, call us so we know what happened. Not only do we have same-day appointments set aside to handle urgent problems, but we can offer personalized guidance on how to handle most emergencies to guarantee the best outcomes.
Situations you should consider a dental emergency include:
- A knocked-out tooth
- A broken or cracked tooth
- Lost crown or filling
- Tooth, teeth, or jaw pain
- Excessive bleeding or aching gums
- Soft tissue injuries, such as bites or cuts
Two of the most common dental emergencies we see at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental involve lost teeth and fillings.
Steps to take when you lose a tooth
It’s easy to assume the worst when you lose an adult tooth. However, sometimes we can reimplant knocked-out permanent teeth, but they require special attention immediately.
Handle with care
If your tooth comes out, it’s essential to handle it gently and as little as possible. Only touch the top — or crown — and take extra care not to come in contact with the root.
Give it a light rinse
Next, inspect the tooth and root for areas that may be broken or missing. If it’s dirty or covered with any debris, give it a gentle rinse in a bowl of lukewarm tap water. This should last no more than 10 seconds, and don’t use running water.
Exposing the tooth root to too much tap water can kill important cells needed to reattach the tooth.
Put it back
This step often surprises people. But, if you can, try to put the tooth back into the empty socket. Don’t force it if it won’t go all the way back in place. Instead, place a piece of wet paper towel or gauze on it and bite down very gently to try to hold it in place until your emergency appointment.
If your tooth won’t go back in the socket, don’t despair. You can also tuck it in your mouth between your cheek and gum or put it in a small container with cold milk, your own saliva, or an over-the-counter product made to preserve knocked-out teeth.
Get to the dentist
Try to get to the dentist within two hours. The quicker we see you, the higher your chances will be of getting your tooth reimplanted. And, if reimplantation isn’t an option, we can offer strategies to replace the tooth, such as dental implants.
How to handle a lost filling
Losing a filling may not seem like a dental emergency. However, this critical piece of material protects your tooth from damage and decay. Losing a filling also exposes dentin, a softer layer of inner tooth that can become extremely sensitive when exposed. As a result, waiting to replace your filling can put your tooth at risk of needing more extensive repair work.
After calling our office to schedule an emergency appointment, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Keep the filling
- Clean the area by gargling with saltwater
- Continue brushing and flossing, but be very careful and gentle where the filling came out
- Don’t chew on the exposed tooth
You can also fill the exposed area with dental wax or temporary filling material made specifically for lost fillings. This step can help protect the vulnerable part of your tooth until we can repair it.
Whether you lose a tooth or filling, it’s important to not try to fix it yourself or wait to get help. Instead, schedule an emergency dentistry appointment to get expert care as quickly as possible.
Did you lose a tooth or filling? We can help. Call 951-845-2661 to schedule an emergency appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental. If you need care that’s not an emergency, call the number above or book an appointment online.