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What to do When You’re Experiencing a Dental Emergency

During the California shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dental clinics like ours were open only to dental emergencies, and all non-emergency dental visits had to be postponed. We wrote on our blog about what constitutes a dental emergency, as outlined by the American Dental Association.

All dental clinics are open now, and can see non-emergency dental appointments, including us here in Long Beach. However, dental emergencies still happen and need to be addressed. But, what should you do when you experience one when most dental offices are closed for the day?

Not all dental incidents are created equal.  Some can be treated at home until you are able to schedule an appointment and some require emergency treatment. It is helpful to have a handle on how to deal with dental emergencies so that you can mitigate the pain. Here we share with you some information and tips to get you through your next dental emergency with less anxiety.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

In a previous blog post, we look at some of the signs or issues to look out for when determining whether an incident is considered a dental emergency and needs a dentist’s help.

If you should notice any facial swelling, an obvious abscess in the gums or fever you should consider this a dental emergency and you should contact the dental office of Dr. Stephen Coates, DDS as soon as possible by calling 562-434-6414.

Look for:

  • Severe Pain
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Cracked tooth enamel
  • Infection

How to Calm Your Child and Perform At-Home Treatment

If your child is in pain, there are things you can do to provide help and comfort.  Start with being calm and assessing the situation.  Look around the mouth and find out what has happened and assess the severity of the situation.  Then figure out the steps you need to take from the list below.

In the Case of:

  • Knocked out Tooth – Wrap the tooth, keeping it moist. When rinsing, only use water, be gentle and do not scrub it. Milk is good for storing the tooth until you get to your pediatric dentist. There may be an opportunity to reposition the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown as you handle it, avoid touching the root of the tooth.
  • Cracked Tooth – Rinse with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Save as much of the tooth as you can find and have it ready for your dentist.
  • Tongue or Lip Injury – Clean the water and use a cold compress. If there is severe bleeding or pain, this needs to be treated as soon as possible.
  • Severe Toothache – Rinse with warm water and ensure all food is out of the teeth.
  • Pain in the Gums – The pain may be intense and throbbing but you cannot identify exactly where the pain is emanating from. Make a note of the pain and try to remember what your child was doing when the pain happened. Was it while drinking something cold or hot? Were they eating popcorn? These details will matter to your dentist.
  • Dental Abscess – This can be pretty painful for little ones. The pocket of pus at the root can drain into your mouth and spread infection.

Before a dental emergency comes up, it would be a great idea to have Save-a-Tooth Emergency Preservation Kit on hand for such emergencies. While dental emergencies can be stressful, quick thinking and a calm disposition can help your family get through this.

Schedule a dental exam with us and let’s discuss preventative measures to help keep your and your family’s dental health in great shape. You can request an appointment online, or give our Long Beach dental office a call at 562-434-6414.

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