Most symptoms and problems that occur with your mouth, teeth, and gums are not emergencies and usually can wait for an appointment with your dentist. However, you can sometimes experience a problem or symptom that requires immediate medical or dental attention.
Any dental trauma should be looked at by your dentist right away. If a tooth is knocked out, be sure to hold it by the crown and not the root. Be sure to rinse it with tap water, but do not scrub it. Keep it moist and, if you can hold it in the socket from which it was knocked out until you can get to your dentist.
If your tooth is broken or chipped, arrange to see your dentist as soon as possible. Keep the loose pieces in a moist cloth. Since chips and breaks vary in degree, the treatment for it also varies. If a tooth is knocked out of alignment, use very light pressure to see if they will go back into their proper place. Bite down on the tooth to keep it in position and get to your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist may decide to splint the tooth so that it can heal.
Another common oral trauma is lacerations inside the mouth. They can occur on your cheeks, gums, or tongue as a result of a blow, a fall, a bite or a slice. Any severe laceration required immediate medical attention from your local emergency room or emergency dentist. Apply direct pressure to the cut or laceration to help control any bleeding. Some lacerations may need to be stitched, while others may be allowed to heal on their own. Some injuries may also require antibiotics to help in the healing process.
If you have not suffered a trauma, but experience severe tooth pain coupled with swelling and a fever, it is best to get to an emergency medical professional or a dentist right away.
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