In the event of a dental emergency during normal office hours please call the office and we will do our best to see you as soon as possible. After hours please read below for the most common emergency issues and home care to try until you can be seen. If you need care due to injury or extreme pain please call our office at 615-444-2034 and follow the prompts to leave a message for Dr. Nawiesniak. He will return your call as soon as possible. If your emergency is life-threatening, dial 911 for Emergency Medical Services or go immediately to a hospital emergency room.
Dental Emergency Treatment
Stay calm. Focus on stopping the bleeding and protecting the injured tooth or area by following the appropriate instructions in this section.
Never take aspirin or ibuprofen for a dental emergency because they are anticoagulants which can cause excessive bleeding. To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Injuries to your teeth and gums can result in infection or other complications — so make sure to call for an appointment if you have any concerns.
The most common dental emergency is pain. Some causes are debris lodged under the gum line, a lost filling or crown, a cracked or broken tooth, or an infection. Only a thorough examination by your Dr. Nawiesniak can determine the underlying cause of severe pain.
Until you see your dentist, apply ice to the painful area for 10-20 minutes of every hour. To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Start by cleaning around the sore tooth. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. Never place an aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. If you experience facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area. Please call us for an appointment if the pain persists for more than one day.
Knocked out Tooth
A Child’s Baby Tooth
If a child’s baby tooth is completely knocked out, chances are it cannot be re-implanted. When this happens, the missing tooth will be replaced naturally when the child’s permanent (adult) tooth grows in. Do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns.
A Permanent (Adult) Tooth
For the Injured Person:
- Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. Apply gauze to the area and use firm pressure to stop the bleeding. Try to find the missing tooth right away.
- When the bleeding stops, apply a cold compress to the injured area to minimize swelling. If bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of constant, firm pressure, see your dentist or go to the emergency room.
- Place the tooth in a small container and cover it with milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.
For the broken tooth:
- Hold the tooth only by its crown (the enamel, visible portion). If the tooth or root is dirty, place a towel or dishcloth in a sink (so the tooth cannot fall into the drain), and gently rinse the tooth and root but DO NOT SCRUB it or remove any gum tissue that may still be attached to the root.
- Place the tooth in a small container and cover the tooth in milk, water with a pinch of salt, or saliva from the injured person.
You have a 1-2 hour window in which your tooth has a chance for re-implantation – only your dentist can tell you for sure. Take the following steps and call us right away. Most importantly, remember to bring your protected tooth with you.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
A small cut (less than 1/4 inch) is likely to heal itself. Carefully wipe the area clean with gauze or a cloth. Apply a cold compress, ice pack, or small bag of frozen fruit or vegetables to the area to minimize swelling.If the cut is larger than 1/4 inch, or if bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of cold treatment, go to the emergency room.
Cold or Canker Sores
Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, visit our office and we would be happy to evaluate the situation and advise you on the best course of treatment.
Possible Broken Jaw
Do not move your jaw. Secure your jaw in place with a handkerchief, necktie, or towel tied around the jaw and over the top of the head. Use cold compresses to reduce swelling. Go to the emergency room immediately.
Please see our article here for advice about how to handle a dental emergency while traveling.