Dental emergencies can be painful, and in cases of severe infection, bleeding or swelling, are a serious medical emergency.
We encourage you to Call Our Roswell Dental Team any time you have a dental concern. If you call after hours, we will provide instructions for reaching our dentists for dental emergencies.
Medical emergency room personnel are trained to provide first aid for dental emergencies related to car accidents, falls, sports injuries or cases of severe mouth bleeding or facial swelling. They will communicate with our dentists after they have addressed urgent medical care needs.
In preventive and family dentistry, we always advise our patients that most tooth problems do not heal on their own. If you have a broken tooth or filling that is bothersome now, it will most likely escalate to a painful situation if it is not treated sooner vs. later.
A dental examination with any necessary digital x-rays can help our dentists provide you with a diagnosis and treatment options. If you have a dental problem, please don't hesitate to Contact Macke Dental Care to find out how we can help you avoid dental emergencies.
Following are a few first aid tips for common dental emergencies. We recommend that you print this information and store it in your first aid kit. If you or your child are active in sports, please ask our Macke Dental Care Team about recommendations for a sports mouthguard.
Trauma to Mouth and Face
Facial trauma from sports injuries, car accidents and falls can be serious. To keep you safe, we recommend that the first call you make in these emergencies is to your family physician, or, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. They will direct you to contact our dentists to address tooth damage after they complete their initial assessment.
Facial Swelling or Abscess
Swelling around a broken or infected tooth occurs when the nerve of the tooth has become inflamed and the infection has spread into the jaw bone and soft tissue. It is important to seek dental treatment as soon as possible. This is especially important in the case of small children, a severe dental infection can be life threatening.
A basic first aid measure for a dental abscess that you can take until you are seen is to rinse gently with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt to 1 cup warm water). Over the counter pain relievers (as you would take for a headache) can help alleviate pain to some extent, please follow the product directions closely. Never place any medication directly on the gums (aspirin, etc.), this will not help with the pain and could cause a painful mouth ulcer.
If a tooth has been knocked out in a fall or sports injury, a quick response can actually make it possible for the tooth to be re-implanted. Place a cold compress on the face and then find the tooth. Once you have found it, use a gauze or clean cloth to pick it up, being careful to not touch the tooth roots. Place the tooth in a cup of milk and Contact Macke Dental Care right away for instructions. We will have you bring the tooth with the patient to our office and determine if it is possible to place it back in the tooth socket.
If you do not have access to milk, cool, clean water (or sterile saline if you have it on hand) can be used to transport the tooth. Another option is to keep the tooth in the mouth between the teeth and gums, although this is not recommended for young children as it is a choking hazard.
Chipped Tooth or Sensitive Teeth
A chipped tooth can occur from biting on hard objects, such as pencils or tools, or using the teeth to cut things (please don't do any of these). If you or your child have chipped a tooth, the first step is to Contact Macke Dental Care for instructions. If the chip is small and not painful, we can schedule a bonding procedure to restore and smooth the tooth surfaces.
Healthy teeth that are highly sensitive to cold foods or water can be a sign of gum recession that has exposed tooth dentin, which is more sensitive than enamel. We may recommend fluoride treatments or desensitizing toothpaste, please Contact our Macke Dental Care Team for suggestions.
Bit Lip or Tongue
Biting our lip or tongue can be painful. If the skin is not broken, generally the initial sting of doing this will wear off in a short time. A cold compress for the lip or a cold soft food like ice cream can help make the tissue more comfortable and reduce any potential swelling.
If there is light bleeding, clean the area with cool water and apply a cold compress to stop the bleeding and Contact Macke Dental Care. Most minor cases can be heal on their own, but occasionally treatment is needed.
If there is extensive bleeding or swelling, medical attention is needed right away. Contact your physician or go to the closest emergency room for immediate care.
Replacement of Missing Teeth
If you have had teeth extracted, you understand the difficulties of eating and chewing without a complete set of functioning teeth.
Our dentists strongly recommend replacement of missing teeth to support proper nutrition and digestion. They also advise their patients regarding the long term impact of missing teeth on their oral health and smile appearance:
Loss of Facial Muscle Contour
Teeth not only help us chew our food and speak properly, they support our facial muscles. It may seem that missing a tooth in the back of the mouth would not be noticeable, but over time, the cheek and jaw muscles will begin to droop without the structure of the tooth to provide form and shape.
If you know someone that wears dentures, you have probably noticed the sunken appearance of their facial muscles and how much older they look without their ‘teeth in’.
The absence of nerve and circulatory stimulation due to a missing tooth will also cause the jaw bone to deteriorate from lack of use. This loss of jaw bone support can contribute to additional tooth and bone loss, making it increasingly difficult to replace the missing teeth. (Even a denture requires the support of the jaw bone to stay in place.)
Harmful Tooth Movement
Teeth literally ‘push’ on each other as they come into contact for chewing. This repetitive pressure causes teeth to shift naturally; with an open space left by a missing tooth, the adjacent teeth will slowly move towards the empty spot. Over time, the teeth will drift out of alignment, making it difficult to chew properly.
The loss of contact will also cause the tooth in the opposite arch (upper or lower) to drift towards the open space; this is known as ‘super-eruption’, a process that eventually leads to further tooth loss.
Schedule a Consultation with our Roswell Dentists
We know that being informed is the first step to enjoying a healthy smile: If you have questions about restorative options such as dental implants, bridges or dentures, please Contact Macke Dental Care to schedule a complete dental examination and consultation. We will make sure you get the answers you need to make decisions about your oral health.
Dental x-rays or radiographs, use a minimal amount of radiation to acquire images of your teeth using special digital sensors. The dental x-ray images provide our dentists with critical diagnostic information that they would not be able to obtain with a visual exam only.
Digital dental x-rays capture images of the tooth roots and jaw bone below the gum line. Our dentists use this information to detect signs of tooth decay, gum infection and bone loss. A large radiograph, a panoramic x-ray, is taken with a sensor that goes around your head. This image is invaluable to dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and medical professionals, as it provides details about the health of the jaw bone and can reveal unerupted teeth or wisdom teeth, or tumors of the jaw.
If you have questions about why our dentists recommend dental x-rays, please ask us. We can show examples of dental x-rays and the variety of conditions that our dentists would not be able to diagnose without them.
Grinding your teeth at night can cause them to become loose, worn, or fractured. Your dentist can custom fit you with a bite guard to protect your teeth while you sleep and recommend any other therapies.
See your dentist for an exam, evaluation, and cleaning. Then, faithfully brush and floss every day to prevent decay and gum disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to low birth weight in babies.