You want to avoid problems whenever possible, but you also know how important it is to be prepared. It’s why you insist that your kids wear a seat belt when they ride in your car or truck. It’s why you have a first aid kit in your house.

This is why we encourage you to do one more thing: save this phone number — 248-972-8720 — in your smartphone if you live in or near Birmingham, MI. That way you will be able to call Newingham Dental Center right away if you or someone you love needs emergency dental care.

Dental emergencies can happen anytime. It’s why your calls are forwarded directly to Dr. Newingham outside of our regular office hours.

Sometimes all you need is someone to talk you through what to do over the phone. For the most serious situations, we’ll schedule an appointment as quickly as possible.

With this in mind, today’s post will take you through what you should do in three of the most common oral health emergencies that we encounter at our office.

Dealing with a Broken Tooth

Baseball, basketball, hockey, football, wrestling … these are just a handful of the reasons people in our part of the country have come to our office with broken teeth. We hope you are wearing an athletic mouthguard any time you take the field or the court, but we also know that accidents happen at other times as well.

Regardless of where or when someone suffers a broken tooth, here are the things you should do to help.

First and foremost, put on latex or vinyl gloves. This is a necessary safety precaution you should take with any dental emergencies, especially one that might involve bleeding. (If you can find the broken piece or pieces, save them in milk to bring to the dental office later.)

The person with the broken tooth should rinse their mouth to remove any blood. You can use gauze to soak up blood if the bleeding continues.

Once the bleeding has stopped, you will want to rinse the person’s mouth one more time. Then you should cover the broken tooth. You can do this with more gauze or with dental wax. This is an important step because broken teeth can have sharp edges and points. They can cut lips, cheeks, and tongue, which will add to the problem. Covering the tooth will minimize this risk.

You also may want to apply an ice or cold pack to the affected area to reduce swelling. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help as well.

Depending on the severity of the break, it may be possible to fix with a dental crown or a veneer. For more serious breaks, a root canal may be necessary to avoid an infection.

Handling a Knocked-Out Tooth

Many of the same kinds of accidents that cause broken teeth also can cause teeth to become avulsed or knocked out of their sockets. Believe it or not, it is possible to sometimes save a tooth in these situations.

Again, be sure to put on gloves before helping someone in this situation. You also will follow many of the same steps that you would with a broken tooth.

The person should still rinse their mouth with water. When a tooth is knocked out, at least some bleeding is likely. After rinsing, use gauze to soak up blood. Rinse one final time after the bleeding has stopped.

You also should try to find the tooth if at all possible. You should rinse the tooth as well to remove any blood or dirt. When the tooth is clean, try carefully placing it back in its socket. Leave it there if it will stay until you are able to see a dentist. Place the tooth in a container of milk to bring to the dentist if it won’t stay in its socket.

As with a broken tooth, you may want to take a pain reliever or apply a cold pack to reduce swelling in the area where the tooth was knocked out.

If the tooth can’t be saved, replacement is your best option. This can prevent “drifting” and bone loss that can increase your risk of losing more teeth. A dental bridge is one option for closing the gap.

A better long-term solution for most people is getting a dental implant and a crown. The implant replaces the root of the missing tooth, and the crown restores the appearance of the person’s smile.

Soothing a Severe Toothache

Your teeth should not hurt or cause you pain. If they are, then something is wrong.

Toothaches can seem to come out of nowhere. If they are the result of a tooth infection, it may be because of decay that has gone unnoticed (and therefore untreated). A broken or cracked tooth can create an opening that could allow an infection to occur as well.

In some case, the pain may not be what you think it is. Try rinsing with warm water, then use dental floss to clean the area around the tooth causing you pain. Sometimes something can be stuck between the tooth and your gums. Removing it may alleviate your pain.

If that does not help, you will want to get a dentist office as soon as you are able. In the meantime, an over-the-counter pain reliever can keep the pain manageable.

Who Will You Call for Emergency Care?

There are things we hope you never have to do. One of them is dealing with a dental emergency for yourself or someone who you love. You also can help avoid emergency situations by wearing an athletic mouthguard and getting routine dental cleanings and exams.

Yet, we know that it’s inevitable that some of you reading this will have a reason to seek emergency dentistry at one time or another in the near future. If and when that situation happens, our team at Newingham Dental Center wants to help.

Again, save our number so you can call 248-972-8720 right away if you ever need it.