Any injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage and require more extensive and expensive treatment down the road.
Below are some of the more common dental problems and suggested remedies for what you can do at home. If any of the problems persist, book a consultation with us as soon as possible.
There could be a variety of reasons for toothaches. If it’s a dull achy sensation, it may be gum related and you should schedule a cleaning. If it’s sharp for a brief period of time, a filling may have come out and exposed a root, or a big chip may have broken off.
Clean your mouth out by rinsing thoroughly with warm water. Remove any lodged food by gently using dental floss. Never put any painkiller on the gum as it can burn the gum tissue. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek.
If the pain only lasts for a few seconds, it is often related to a small exposure close to the root. Avoid hot and cold exposure, and even place Vaseline over the area to protect the tooth until you can get a dental appointment. If the pain persists for more than one minute after exposure to hot or cold, it often means that the nerve has been infected and that a root canal may be required to save the tooth.
If you’ve chipped or broken a tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water as soon as possible. Rinse the broken pieces with warm water and save them. Apply a cold compress to the area to minimize swelling and relieve pain. If there is bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Most broken teeth can be fixed, either with a filling or surgery. A crown or cap may be needed.
Rinse the tooth with warm water, hold it by the crown and gently try to reinsert it into its socket. Do not scrub the tooth and do not hold it by the root as this can cause permanent damage. Make sure the tooth is facing the right way. If the tooth is returned to its socket within 1 hour of being knocked out, it has a better chance of using the attached fibres to reimplant itself. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put it in a small container of milk, or alternatively, in a cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt. See your dentist as soon as possible.
See your dentist immediately. To ease the pain, apply a cold compress to your face over the affected area. Take over the counter pain medication to relieve the pain.
First, try using dental floss, very gently and carefully, to remove the object. If you tie a small knot in the middle of the floss and pull it through the affected area, you can often dislodge the object. Never use a pin or other sharp object to dislodge something that is stuck between your teeth.
Most often, this is not an emergency but will require a visit to the dentist. Most fillings are not deep enough to cause problems if untreated for a couple of days. Use your judgment and call the dentist if you are unsure. As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity to keep food out.
Rinse the crown with water. Coat the inner surface of the crown with over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive before slipping the crown back over the tooth. Make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible. If this is a temporary crown, you must see the dentist.
If your cheek, tongue or gum is poked by a broken or bent wire, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist’s office until you can get an appointment at your dentist office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.
Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If there is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it re-cemented or replaced, and to have missing spacers replaced.
Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage to the tissue and surrounding teeth. If you experience a pimple-like swelling on your gum that is painful, rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in a glass of water), repeat as necessary, and see your dentist as soon as possible.
Injuries to the tongue, cheeks, gums, or lips can cause bleeding. Rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution, then use a moistened piece of gauze or a tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding area. Hold this in place for 15-20 minutes. Hold a cold compress to your face over the affected area for 5-10 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t’t stop, see your dentist.
Managing Dental Recovery
The instructions below are suggested actions to take following dental procedures. If, at any time, you experience major discomfort, persistent pain, or have questions or concerns, please call the dentist.
Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the brain to recognize to recognize the change as normal. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call us so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.
It’s normal to experience some hot, cold and pressure sensitivity. The removal of tooth structure and placement of new materials may result in a period of adjustment. Your gums may also be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling. Mild pain medication should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period.
Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivary flow. Your brain may respond to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing salivary flow. This should subside to normal within a week or so.
Daily plaque removal is critical for the long term success of your dental work. Maintain a regular oral hygiene routine. Daily brushing and flossing is a must. Regular cleaning appointments in our office are also critically important. We’ll use the appropriate cleaning abrasives and techniques for your specific cosmetic work.
It’s important to change habits to protect your new teeth. Any food that could chip, crack, or damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new cosmetic restorations. Avoid sticky candies, any unusually hard foods or substances (such as peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils or ice). Avoid or minimize your use of foods that stain, such as tea, coffee, red wine and berries. Smoking will quickly yellow your teeth.
Let us know if you grind your teeth at night or engage in sports so we can make you a custom mouth guard. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time.
Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. On the first appointment the teeth are prepared. Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made. After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
On rare occasions, temporary crowns come off. Call us if this happens and keep the temporary so we can re-cement it. Temporary crowns need to stay in place to ensure a proper fit for your permanent restoration.
It’s normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. Your gums may be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling. Use medication only as directed.
To help keep your temporary crown in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth. It’s important to continue to brush normally, but floss very carefully and remove the floss sideways to prevent removal of the temporary crown.
After your periodontal surgery, your lips, teeth and tongue may be numb for several hours. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off. Don’t eat anything for two hours following surgery.
It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after surgery. To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. Do not take medication on an empty stomach to prevent nausea. Apply an ice pack (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) for six hours following surgery to decrease pain and swelling.
After 24 hours, to further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water (put a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, gently rinse-swish-spit). If antibiotics are prescribed, take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
Some slight bleeding is normal for a day or so following surgery. If bleeding persists, apply firm pressure with a moist gauze pad or bite on a tea bag for 20 minutes. Elevate your head with pillows. Call our office if this doesn’t stop bleeding or if bleeding increases.
For the first 48 hours, restrict your meals to soft foods such as yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, and soups until you can chew comfortably. Relax as much as possible and avoid all strenuous activities for the first 24 hours following surgery.
Continue your normal dental care routine in the non-treated areas. You may gently rinse around the treated area with warm water or mouthwash, but avoid frequent or vigorous rinsing until healing has taken place.
Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete. A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments. After each use of anesthetics your lips, teeth and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
Between appointments it is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call us so that it can be replaced.
It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing. To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. To further reduce pain and swelling rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit).
If antibiotics are prescribed, take them as prescribed, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary filling in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.
It’s important to continue to brush and floss normally.
Usually, placing the permanent crown on the tooth is the last step after root canal treatment. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking again.
After an extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after the extraction. If bleeding or oozing continues after you remove the gauze pad, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.
After the blood clot forms it is important to protect it especially for the next 24 hours. So Don’t: smoke, suck through a straw, rinse your mouth vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site. These activities will dislodge the clot and slow down healing. Limit yourself to calm activities for the first 24 hours. This keeps your blood pressure lower, reduces bleeding and helps the healing process.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and have some swelling. You can use an ice bag to keep this to a minimum. The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.
Use pain medication only as directed. Call the office if it doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of the extraction. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages and avoid hot and spicy foods. You can begin eating normally the next day or as soon as it feels comfortable.
Gently rinse your mouth with salt water three times a day beginning the day after the extraction (a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit). Also, rinse gently after meal— it helps keep food out of the extraction site. It is very important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing your teeth and tongue, and flossing at least once a day. This speeds healing and helps keep your breath and mouth fresh. After a few days you will be feeling fine and can resume your normal activities.
Call us right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication.
After each use of anesthetics your lips, teeth and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
It’s normal to experience some hot, cold and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Your gums may be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (put a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling.
Don’t chew hard foods or chew directly on your new silver fillings for 24 hours. If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth. You may chew right away on white fillings since they set completely on the day of the appointment.