Knowing how to handle a dental emergency greatly affects the outcome. While some emergencies are obvious (a knocked-out tooth), others may be questionable. Since emergencies are apt to happen in inconvenient locations and at inconvenient times, a little preparation can be helpful.
- Make up 3-4 small dental emergency kits. Have one in the home, one in the glove compartment of all vehicles and bring one when traveling. All that is needed is a small container with a lid, the dentist’s name and phone number, acetaminophen (not ibuprofen or aspirin as they can cause excessive bleeding), a handkerchief and a little gauze.
- A knocked-out tooth must be treated very carefully. Handle only by the crown; do not touch the roots. Rinse tooth gently but do not scrub. If possible, place the tooth back into the socket. If not, place in a small container, preferably with milk. It is critical to get to the dentist as soon as possible so that the chances of successfully re-implanting the tooth are as good as possible.
- A loose tooth needs to be held in place carefully while getting to the dentist immediately. It is similar to treating a knocked-out tooth – the faster the dentist can treat it, the better.
- A chipped tooth is not a dental emergency unless it is painful. Call the dentist and schedule an appointment.
- A cracked or fractured tooth is a dental emergency. This usually means that the inside of the tooth has been damaged; the dentist will have to determine if the tooth can be saved. Rinse the mouth immediately with warm water. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Take acetaminophen (not ibuprofen or aspirin).
- Any type of injury inside the mouth, such as a puncture wound or tear, is an emergency. Contact an oral surgeon or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- An abscess indicates infection and can be severe. Seek medical treatment either from your dentist or an emergency room.
- In general, dental emergencies involve pain, bleeding, loose or missing teeth, cracked or fractured teeth or facial trauma (such as being hit in the face).
Anyone who needs an emergency dentist in Queens can call the office of Dr. Peter Rumack and Dr. Victor Terranova. Between them, these two dentists have over 50 years of combined dental experience. Of course, the practice also offers a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry services.