When Should You Seek Emergency Care?
If you've chipped or damaged your tooth, it may be painful, but it's unlikely your dentist will consider it an emergency. In most cases, you'll be able to make a regular appointment with your dentist in the next day or two to discuss your options and have a chip filled or a broken tooth repaired.
If your front tooth is knocked out completely, you may need emergency care so you can save your tooth. The Cleveland Clinic says that teeth are likely to survive if put back in the socket within 5 minutes. Between 5 and 60 minutes, your chances are still good. After an hour, tooth survival rates drop significantly, so be sure to act promptly.
- Be careful not to hold the tooth by its root. Only hold it by the chewing surface (the crown).
- Contact your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment.
- As you wait for the appointment, rinse the tooth in cool water (no soap) without scrubbing it, then place it back in your child's socket, holding it there with clean gauze or washcloth.
- If it doesn't stay, you can also place the lost tooth in a clean container of cold milk, then head to your dentist's office as soon as possible. If you don't have cold milk, place the tooth in your mouth between your cheek and your gums. Your dentist may be able to graft the tooth back into its socket. Acting fast, you may be able to save the tooth and prevent infection.