When we think of a holiday weekend like Labor Day, Memorial Day, or the 4th of July, we think of days of fun…on the lake, on a trip, camping, enjoying a “stay-cation.” What we don’t think (or like to think about) is the possibility of a painful tooth ache, a chipped tooth, a throbbing tooth infection, or a sleepless night with a hurting mouth.
Yet, it does happen: dental emergencies on a holiday weekend from an underlying infection, a cracked or chipped tooth from a fun wrestle gone bad, or an unexpected lost filling. On a holiday weekend, it’s not always the easiest to see a dentist for your dental emergency (though it is a very good reason to go to a dentist with emergency availability, even for non-patients!). Until you can schedule a dentist appointment, here are some tips to take care of that painful holiday weekend fun interruption.
- DO NOT apply heat to your mouth as treatment, even if it brings temporary relief, as heat can cause swelling and make your toothache worse.
- Apply an ice pack on the side of the toothache.
- Avoid anything (i.e. food, vibration, pressure to that side of your mouth, etc.) that worsens the pain.
- Use over-the-counter medications to treat your toothache, but be careful to follow directions—and only use medications that won’t counteract anything you take on a regular basis.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Hold a cold compress to your cheek to lessen pain and swelling.
- If you have any pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication if there is pain, but make sure to follow the label directions.
- Avoid biting down on the tooth until you can get treated by your dentist.
Knocked out tooth
- Call your dentist for an emergency appointment (or call another doctor to see if they can handle the problem). Time is of the essence if you have any hope of saving the tooth.
- DO NOT touch the tooth root when picking the tooth up.
- If you can, carefully clean the tooth, put the tooth back in your mouth and push the tooth down by closing your mouth.
- If putting the tooth in your mouth isn’t possible, or you’re worried about swallowing the tooth, keep it moist until you see your dentist.
- Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to wait to see your dentist (no longer!).
- While you wait, take the filling out.
- Try not to reattach the filling on your own.
- Keep the area clean in your mouth so food doesn’t get stuck.
- If you have any sensitivity or pain, ask your dentist office what they recommend for pain relief.
- Go in as soon as possible for your emergency dentist appointment.
- Wash and dry the crown or cap.
- If your dentist says you should try to temporarily cement the crown back in your mouth, use a dental cement or adhesive (such as Fixodent) to try to reattach the crown or cap.
- Schedule an emergency dentist appointment ASAP.