Bike accidents and biting into something hard are two common causes of dental emergencies, but the reality is that dental emergencies can pop up anywhere 一 on the sports field, at work, or while eating at home.
If you’re dealing with a knocked-out tooth, an oral infection, or a toothache, we encourage you to visit Dentistry in Paradise in Santa Barbara, California, as soon as you spot the signs of trouble. Kevin Miller, DDS, is an expert when it comes to handling common dental emergencies.
Whether you need a dental crown to protect a broken tooth, antibiotics to clear an infection, or cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile, we can help. In the meantime, here’s what you can do while you wait for your appointment.
An avulsed tooth (knocked-out tooth) is a common dental emergency, especially among skateboarders and surfers as well as baseball and basketball players. It’s possible to sometimes save a knocked-out tooth, and these tips can help increase your chance at success:
- Rinse the tooth, but avoid handling it by the roots
- Keep the tooth moist — put it back in the socket if possible, hold it in your mouth next to your cheek, or carry it in a glass of milk or a tooth preserver first aid kit
- Seek dental care within 30 minutes
If Dr. Miller can apply a dental splint to a knocked-out tooth in time, there’s a chance it can heal. If splinting isn’t effective, Dr. Miller can replace your missing tooth with a bridge or dental implant.
Toothaches can range from a mild annoyance to severe throbbing pain. Cavities, infections, damaged fillings, and tooth fractures can also contribute to tooth pain. The only way to permanently eliminate the pain of a toothache is to treat the underlying cause. However, these tips can help alleviate your pain until you receive the right treatment:
- Apply topical anesthetic oral gel
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers
- Floss to remove any debris stuck between your teeth
- Apply cold compresses to your cheeks, which also combats swelling
- Gently swish your mouth with salt water (1 cup of warm water with ½ teaspoon of table salt)
- Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth with the damaged tooth
Have you lost or damaged a filling? Follow the instructions on an over-the-counter temporary filling repair kit. If you don’t have access to a kit, you may find relief by placing a piece of sugarless gum over the part of the tooth where your filling used to be.
Broken or chipped tooth
Chipping a tooth can happen while innocently taking a bite of food or after sustaining a sports injury or other traumatic injury. A chipped tooth can sometimes be repaired with dental bonding, so it’s important to save the piece of your chipped tooth if possible. Follow the same steps as with a knocked-out tooth:
- Rinse the chipped tooth
- Keep the piece moist
- Seek dental care within 30 minutes if possible
Dr. Miller takes great pride in aesthetic dental bonding to make sure your smile remains just as functional as it is beautiful.
Abscesses sometimes appear as a pimple-looking bump on your gum. Oral infections can spread quickly to other parts of your body, so swift treatment is crucial. If you suspect you have an infection:
- Take over-the-counter pain relief medication to treat pain and reduce any fever you might have
- Use cold compresses to reduce swelling
- Avoid picking the bump on your gum
Make an appointment with Dr. Miller as soon as possible.
Protecting your smile
Wearing mouthguards while engaging in recreational activities, practicing good oral hygiene, and refraining from using your teeth as tools can go a long way in helping you avoid dental emergencies, but sometimes, accidents just happen.
If you or your child experience a dental emergency, call our Patterson Avenue office at 805-967-0272. For less urgent matters, you can make appointments online anytime, day or night.