Emergency Dental Care

Knocked-out Tooth

Also known as dental avulsion, this is a dental emergency that requires prompt treatment. The knocked-out tooth can be reinserted and preserved by your dentist if appropriate measures are taken immediately.

Step 1: Pick up the tooth by the crown. Do not touch the roots of the tooth.

Step 2: Gently rinse the tooth under tap water or milk to cleanse it.

Step 3: If possible, place the tooth back into the socket and hold it in place by biting down gently. If not, place the tooth in a cup of cold milk.

Step 4: Inform your dentist immediately. Failure to re-plant the knocked-out tooth within 60 minutes may result in lower success of replantation.

 
Chipped, Cracked or Fractured Teeth

A chipped tooth does not constitute a dental emergency. Your dentist would be able to smooth the chip out. As long as there is no sensitivity or pain, the chipped area is likely to be confined to the outer layer of the tooth (enamel). However, if the tooth is painful, take a pain reliever and seek help from the dentist as soon as possible.

A chipped tooth may become a cracked tooth and patients may suffer from cracked tooth (without any chips). Such cases require urgent attention as it often suggests that damage has occurred inside the tooth. Patients are encouraged to follow these steps before getting to the dental clinic:

Step 1: Take a pain killer

Step 2: Avoid biting onto the fractured/cracked tooth

Step 3: If there is swelling, antibiotics will be needed.

After diagnosis, if the tooth pulp is damaged, a root canal treatment will be required, followed by a crown. However, if the tooth is non-restorable, the tooth may need removal and implant may be the solution to substitute the missing tooth.
 

Problems with Dislodged Crown

A crown that comes off may be put in place by using a small amount of denture adhesive such as POLIDENT. Place the crown properly on your tooth with the adhesive in place and bite down firmly onto a dry cloth so as to apply pressure evenly. Clean off any excess adhesive and visit your dentist within the next few days to have it properly cemented.
 

How to Avoid a Dental Emergency

Most dental emergencies can be avoided through routine dental check ups to ensure a healthy set of teeth. Your dentist can make sure that you do not have any loose teeth or decay, which may develop into other problems before becoming a dental emergency.

Patients should also be sure to put in effort in preventing dental emergencies:

  • Avoid chewing ice, hard candy or any other hard foods that may crack or fracture your teeth,
  • Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports to prevent knocked out teeth, or if you know or have been told that you grind your teeth during sleep or clench your teeth whenever you are stressed or while lifting weights
  • Do not use your teeth to cut things or bite hard shells such as crab.