Dental Emergencies 

It’s a fact of life – emergencies don’t occur when doctor’s offices are open. It seems like it’s always in the dead of night, a national holiday or a weekend when a tooth gets knocked out or starts aching so bad you want to howl.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of dos and don’ts for dental emergencies. In all cases, you should get to your dentist as soon as you can, but the following tips should keep you going until you can get there.

Do rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. 
Do use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped between the teeth. 
Don’t place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. 
Do see your dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-Out Tooth
Do rinse the tooth in running water if it’s dirty. 
Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. 
Do gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket or place it in a cup of milk or cool water. 
Do go straight to your dentist – if you get there in 30 minutes or less, there’s a good chance the tooth can be put back in its rightful place.

Broken Tooth

Do gently clean dirt from the injured area with warm water. 
Do place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to decrease swelling. 
Do go to the dentist immediately.

Bitten Tongue or Lip
Do apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth. 
Do apply cold compresses if swelling is present. 
Do go to the emergency room if the bleeding doesn’t stop.

Problems With Braces and Retainers
Do use a small cotton ball, beeswax or piece of gauze if a wire is causing irritation. 
Don’t remove a wire that gets stuck in your cheek, tongue or gum tissue. 
Do go to the dentist if an appliance comes loose or breaks.

Objects Caught Between Teeth
Do try to remove the object with floss, being careful not to cut the gums. 
Don’t use a sharp or pointed instrument. 
Do go to the dentist if you can’t remove it.

Possible Broken Jaw
Don’t move your jaw. 
Do secure it in place by tying a handkerchief, necktie or towel around the jaw and over the top of your head. 
Do apply cold compresses if swelling is present. 
Do go immediately to a hospital emergency room.
If you have questions about a potential problem not listed here, don’t hesitate to ask your Michigan Dental Association dentist. While there is no substitute for a visit to your dentist’s office, their words of advice can be very reassuring in a time of crisis.

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