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What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Accidents happen. You can take precautions to avoid some, but not all of them. Sometimes accidents affect the teeth and gums, and sometimes sudden pain develops in the mouth due to an infection. Any of these events are considered a dental emergency.

There are measures you can take to prevent some dental problems from happening; they are not always inevitable. Some of them you can deal with at home, some you cannot. The question is: Which is which?

Types of Dental Emergencies 

A dental emergency is a situation concerning your teeth and mouth that requires quick dental treatment. This treatment may be necessary in order to avoid a permanent loss of a tooth, to ease pain, or to treat an oral infection. If an oral infection is ignored, dental emergencies can lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. 

Note: If bleeding is excessive and is not stopping, or if there is oral trauma, go to an emergency room. The emergency personnel will provide immediate treatment and will notify your dentist.

The following conditions require a prompt visit to the dentist’s office:

Fractured Tooth

A fractured tooth is a typical dental emergency, especially in athletes. When it happens, follow these steps:

  • Save any pieces of the tooth that you can salvage, and keep them in milk to help maintain their integrity.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply a cold compress on the outside of the mouth near the fractured tooth to keep the swelling down.
  • Seek immediate care from a dentist.

Luxated Tooth (Loose Tooth) 

A luxated tooth occurs when the tooth is loose but not completely knocked out. It can be pushed forward, backward, or sideways. However, you should not move it to avoid completely pulling it out. If your tooth is loose, contact your dentist for treatment as soon as possible.

Avulsed Tooth (Tooth Knocked Out) 

This injury happens when the tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth. If this happens:

  • Do not touch the root of the tooth.
  • Only hold the tooth by its crown, which is the exposed part in the mouth.
  • If the tooth has any dirt or debris, gently rinse it with warm water.
  • Put the tooth into a small container of milk. If you don’t have milk, put it in warm water with a pinch of table salt.
  • Call your dentist’s office and tell their emergency contact what has happened. 

Your tooth has a higher chance of being saved, and successfully re-placed back into your mouth, if you see a dentist within an hour after it is knocked out.

Mouth Bleeding 

Bleeding in your mouth can be due to injuries to the soft tissues: cheeks, gums, tongue, and lips. Here are the first-aid steps to do if your mouth is bleeding: 

  • Immediately rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution.
  • Using moist gauze or a tea bag, apply gentle pressure to the bleeding area.
  • Using your other hand, apply a cold compress on your cheek near the affected area to control the bleeding and relieve pain.
  • If the bleeding does not subside within a few minutes, seek immediate medical care.
  • Continue applying pressure on the bleeding area until you are seen and treated by your dentist or another medical professional.

Other dental emergencies that require quick dental care (within 24 hours) are a lost filling, lost crown, broken braces wires, and loose brackets. Should something lodge between your teeth, try to remove it with dental floss, not a pin or another sharp object; if you cannot remove it safely, seek dental care right away.

Dental Emergency Care In Merced, California

Our caring and experienced dentists at El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, are trained to perform treatments on all types of dental emergencies. Contact us right now if you have an urgent dental issue.


Can Milk Really Preserve a Fallen Tooth?
Can Milk Really Preserve a Fallen Tooth?

Carrie’s 12-year old daughter was happily playing in the back yard with the neighborhood kids. She could hear the gleeful sounds of laughter coming through the open window. Suddenly, the lighthearted mood changed. Her daughter had fallen onto the driveway and knocked out one of her front teeth.  Her daughter came running in, mouth bleeding, holding her knocked out tooth in her hand. Her mouth was already beginning to swell. Carrie did not think she could put the tooth back into the now-empty socket so she did the next best thing and gently placed the tooth in a cup of milk. She called the dentist’s office and headed out the door. A few hours later, her daughter was resting, with the tooth safely back in her mouth.

Knocked Out Teeth: What to do

If your tooth is knocked out, the best place to keep it is actually in your mouth, when possible. Gently placing the tooth back into the empty socket or even holding it the space between the cheek and gum can help preserve the tooth by keeping the root moist and viable. Obviously, if the person is not conscious, you should call 911 and not try to put anything into their mouth.

If it is a permanent adult tooth you can do the following:

·       Handle the tooth as little as possible. Do not touch the roots, pick it up by the crown.

·       If you can gently slip it back into the socket (making sure it is facing he right way), do so.

·        If the tooth is covered in dirt or debris, you should gently rinse it, being careful not to drop it, with milk. (If milk is unavailable, do NOT use soy-milk or any milk substitutes.)

·       If you do not have milk, you can use warm water instead.

·       Do not add soap or any kind of disinfectant.

·       Do not brush the tooth with a washcloth or a toothbrush.

·       Do not use very hot water as it can further damage the tooth.

·       Get to your dentist as soon as possible. The faster you see your dentist, the greater the chance you have of saving the tooth.

Once your dentist has the tooth, he or she will gently clean out the socket and replace the tooth, if possible. As long as the bone surrounding the tooth was not broken, it is likely to accept the tooth and be fully healed in six to eight weeks. Your dentist may also use a soft wire or other material to create a dental splint that holds the tooth in place, using nearby teeth as an anchoring system. Your dentist will also advise you about follow-up visits, brushing, flossing and eating.

Dentists are trained to treat dental emergencies. Dental problems don’t go away on their own. If you need caring, expert treatment for a knocked out tooth or any other dental issues, call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online.


Blog Dealing with a Dental Emergency
Blog Dealing with a Dental Emergency

Life Happens: What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Things can often happen fast. You can be busy with your day one minute, and urgently in need of dental care the next. A dental emergency can occur any time of the day or night. From a lost filling to a throbbing toothache, a broken or damaged tooth to a lost crown or bridge, dental emergencies happen every day.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation in which you need immediate treatment to prevent the permanent loss of a tooth, alleviate pain or stop excessive bleeding. A dental emergency can also arise from an abscess or infection which needs to be addressed immediately. Many people do not know that severe infection in the mouth or jaw can actually become life-threatening if left untreated.

What to do in a Dental Emergency

Your actions will largely depend on the severity of the injury or illness. For instance, if your face or jaw has swollen, it is likely that you have a serious infection and need to contact a dentist immediately. A dentist can assess the condition and prescribe appropriate medications such as an antibiotic and or medication to reduce pain and inflammation. You should also exercise care if there is bleeding and or swelling and avoid lying down, to prevent choking.

If you Have Knocked Out a Tooth

Call your dentist as soon as possible. Try to recover the tooth is you can. Be careful to pick it up by the top or crown instead of the pointy area on the bottom, which is the root. Your dentist may advise you to try gently replacing the tooth, again without touching the root. You can look into a mirror to see how the teeth on either side are placed. You can also place a tooth in milk to keep it moist or hold it gently between your cheek and gum to protect the tooth.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

If you have chipped, broken or cracked a tooth, you are probably going to need at least a filling, if not a crown. Your dentist will be able to assess the amount of damage and recommend a treatment plan to correct it. If you are in pain, you will want to see your dentist immediately. If you are not in pain, you should still contact your dentist to schedule a visit and advise them of the situation. You may notice some sensitivity if the nerve has been exposed. Try to avoid very cold or very hot food and eat on the other side until you can see your dentist.

If you are Bleeding from the Mouth

Bleeding can be caused by a variety of things. Blood on floss, for example, could mean early gum disease. Bleeding after an injury or a procedure may need to be evaluated by your dentist. If, for instance, you have had a dental procedure that continues to bleed, you will need to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Prolonged bleeding can be a medical emergency. You need to keep your head up, to minimize bleeding, just as you would want to elevate an injured hand or foot.

When in Doubt, Call Us.

As a rule of thumb, when in doubt contact a professional. Dentists are trained to treat all forms of dental emergencies. Dental problems do not go away on their own and the sooner you can get treatment, the better. If you’re in need of expert care for your teeth, call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. No problem is too big or too small. Our caring dentists are always happy to help you get the outstanding dental care you and your loved ones deserve.