One of the worst experiences we can have in life is a dental emergency.

When compared to all of the other things that can happen in life, it may not seem like a big deal. That is, of course, until we’re actually going through it.

Being in an accident or experiencing some other form of trauma that results in a loss, cracked, broken, or completely knocked out tooth definitely gets the adrenaline pumping. And when someone is in that sort of a situation, it’s difficult to know just what steps to take.

To assist our patients and readers, we wanted to provide some dental trauma tips direct to you from a dental emergency dentist here in Calgary. It is our hope that this guide will help you feel a little bit calmer in a traumatic situation. And, it might even help you save a tooth.

Why You Should Never Try to Treat Dental Trauma at Home

Honestly, there’s no way to treat a broken or knocked out tooth at home. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

Over the years, people have tried using super glue to bond a broken tooth back together or to re-cement a crown that’s fallen off.

The problem with this is that it can result in even more damage. Dental cements are formulated to adhere to living tissues. Superglue is not. The glue will cut off the nerve and blood supply to the tooth. This will result in nerve damage and even the death of the tooth, which can lead to a root canal or an extraction.

Another issue with using superglue is that it is not medical-grade. In other words, it’s not sterile. Introducing a non-sterile compound into the oral cavity can lead to a serious infection. In some cases, an abscess might develop, which would again, necessitate a root canal or extraction.

To anyone who has experienced dental trauma, we implore you: see an emergency dentist right away. Don’t try to fix the problem at home, it can’t be done.

Trauma Tips from a Local Dental Emergency Dentist

Here is our step-by-step guide for dealing with various dental emergencies.

dental emergency inforgraphic by emergency dentist

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When a Tooth Has Been Completely Knocked Out

  • Handle the tooth with care. Do not touch the root.
  • If there is any dirt or debris on the tooth, it should be rinsed off for no more than 10 seconds in cold water.
  • If possible, have someone with clean hands place the tooth back into the tooth socket.
  • Use gauze or a tissue to keep the tooth from getting wet with saliva. Apply a good amount of pressure to reduce any bleeding.
  • If you cannot put the tooth back into the socket, put it into a cup of milk. This will keep the tooth fortified and reduce the risk of it dying, thereby increasing the possibility of an emergency dentist putting it back in successfully.
  • Until you can get to a dental emergency dentist, apply a cold pack on your cheek to reduce swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.

When a Tooth Has Been Cracked

  • Avoid chewing on that tooth altogether, if possible, to avoid further cracking or fracture.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm salt water.
  • Avoid sugary foods or extremely cold or hot foods until an appointment with a dental emergency dentist can be made. This will reduce the likelihood of pain or sensitivity.
  • Also avoid crunchy, sticky, or overly chewy foods as these can make the crack worse.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary.

When a Tooth Has Fractured

  • Gently rinse with warm salt water.
  • If there is bleeding, place gauze or a tissue onto the tooth or gums and apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling of the cheek.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.

When a Crown/Cap Has Come Off

  • Don’t try to cement the crown on with superglue.
  • If it’s impossible to see an emergency dentist right away, head to a pharmacy. The pharmacist can recommend an over-the-counter dental cement and explain how to use it properly.
  • Rinse with warm salt water to reduce sensitivity, and be sure to remove any debris, before attempting to temporarily re-cement the crown.
  • Take pain medication if necessary.

Post-Trauma Treatment – What You Can Expect from Your Calgary Dentist

Most Calgary dentist offices have a provision for dental emergencies.

For instance, at Nosehill Dental, we have appointments readily available for dental emergencies each day. It is our goal that any patient who has a dental emergency is able to see a dental emergency dentist within one hour of injury.

What can patients expect from a dental emergency dentist?

The first goal is to get the patient out of pain. We can do this by:

  • Re-cementing a crown if the tooth is healthy (no decay)
  • Putting a temporary crown on a tooth that is cracked or fractured
  • Proceeding with root canal treatment or an extraction, if necessary.

If a tooth has been completely knocked out, we will do our best to place the tooth back into the socket. This often works, but sometimes it doesn’t, and the patient ends up needing a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.

Don’t Delay! Get Help As Soon as You Have an Emergency

We’ve come across some people who’ve waited longer than is recommended to see an emergency dentist in Calgary after they’ve experienced trauma. Sometimes it’s because they don’t think the injury is really that serious. Other times, it’s because they’re afraid they can’t afford the necessary treatment.

We understand these feelings. Most people aren’t excited about the prospect of seeing a health or dental care provider, or they may even be afraid. But if you’ve experienced oral trauma you should call our Ranchlands dental office as soon as possible.

The sooner we can treat the damaged tooth or teeth, the better chance we will have of saving them for you. And that will result in less pain, more savings down the road, and a healthier smile!

One of the best ways to avoid extra anxiety when you’ve experienced trauma is to have an on-call emergency dentist on hand.

Save our emergency hotline,(403) 241-1900, for our on-call emergency dentist’s contact info!

Facing a dental emergency?

An emergency dentist will be right with you. We have a No Judgement Policy.

Call Emergency Line