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What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

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There’s no telling when a dental emergency may occur, and even when it does, you might not recognize it as such. Generally, any dental injury that will get worse if not treated right away should be considered an emergency. Read on for a few examples of such injuries:

Knocked-Out Adult Tooth
If you lose an adult tooth, time is of the essence. If the tooth is to survive and be successfully restored, it will need to be examined by a dentist, preferably within 30 minutes of its loss. Before you pick up the phone to call your dentist, preserve your tooth by gently rinsing—not rubbing—it with cold milk, your saliva, or water. Then, re-implant the tooth in the gum’s open space and hold it there with your fingers or by biting down. Doing this correctly provides the best chance that your dentist will be able to re-implant the tooth permanently; however, do not force the tooth.

Severe Swelling or Pain
Sudden, unexplained swelling inside the mouth is potentially the most serious dental emergency, given that it can be indicative of anything from a simple infection to a cancerous tumor. If swelling worsens over a day or two or is accompanied by pain, fever, or breathing problems, seek emergency help. If your dentist is not available, you may seek care from the nearest hospital emergency room.

Broken Jaw
The jaw is the tenth most-broken bone in the body, and fractures should be taken very seriously. Not only can a broken jawbone knock teeth out of alignment, but also cause serious damage to the inside of your mouth. Your jawbone also supports your tongue; without this support, your tongue can block your airway and make breathing difficult. Before arriving at the dentist’s office, you may try to immobilize the jaw by gently aligning your teeth and tying a necktie or scarf under your chin and over the top of your head.

At Park 56 Dental of NYC, we know that you can never predict when a dental emergency will occur. That’s why our office is staffed after-hours with an on-call emergency care technician. Contact us at (212) 826-2322 for more information, and ask about our cosmetic dental work as well!

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