You’re out having a great time. Boating, bike riding, or just hiking in the park. Then it happens. You get injured, and now you have a dental emergency. In every case, the best thing to do is call our Jeffersonville, IN dental office at 812-913-6093 (Jeffersonville) 812-884-8304 (New Albany) 502-430-3451 (St. Matthews) as soon as you can. There are a few important things you should do right away depending on your situation — for example, using a cold pack to reduce swelling when you’ve chipped a tooth. Once done, call us so we can help.

Here’s how to handle the most common minor and serious dental emergencies.

Minor Emergencies

  • Something is caught between your teeth: Hopefully, you are only using your teeth to chew food. Even then, you can get something hard stuck between your teeth. Popcorn is often the culprit. If there is something between your teeth, gently use dental floss to dislodge it. Don’t use toothpicks or other sharp objects. There’s a small but real chance you could slip and cut your gums.
  • Bit lip or tongue: Sometimes, an accident can cause you to bite down hard on your tongue, lips, or even the inside of your cheeks. If the area is bleeding, use a sterile gauze to stop the bleeding with direct pressure. If it’s sore but not bleeding, leave it alone. A cold pack placed on the outside can help with swelling and pain.
  • Damaged metal braces: If you have metal braces, you might damage them. (Which is another reason you should consider ClearCorrect or Invisalign metal-free orthodontics.) If something is loose, use dental wax to hold it in place. If something is broken, cover it with wax or gauze until you can be seen.
  • Mild cut to gums: Small cuts to your gums need attention. First, use a sterile gauze or piece of cloth and apply pressure. If the bleeding stops, you have time to contact us for how to proceed. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, visit the emergency room.

Serious Emergencies

  • Major cut to gums: The key to this is to stop the bleeding. As with a mild cut, use a sterile cloth or gauze to stop the bleeding through pressure. If the bleeding does not stop, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
  • Severe toothache: Sometimes, this pain is caused by something stuck near the tooth that you cannot see. Rinse vigorously with warm water, then floss around the tooth carefully. If the pain doesn’t get better, take non-aspirin pain relief.
  • Chipped tooth: You could chip your tooth and not be in any pain. Any force strong enough to break enamel probably caused deeper damage too. Use a cold pack on the outside to control swelling.
  • Broken tooth: Try to find the piece or pieces and save them. Rinse your mouth with water. Control any bleeding with gauze and any swelling with cold packs.
  • Broken jaw: If you were injured and your jaw is swollen, bruised, and painful, you may have broken it. Use cold packs to control the swelling. Hold the jaw in place by wrapping a bandage around your jaw and head.
  • Loose tooth: An injury can leave you with a tooth that’s loose. You can feel it moving a bit when you touch it with your tongue. First, stop doing that. Try your best to leave it alone. The more you play with it, the greater chance it will come out. Use a cold pack and non-aspirin pain relievers until you can be seen.
  • Lost tooth: Get the tooth by the crown (white part), rinse it, and try putting it back in the socket. Don’t force it. If it won’t stay, put it in a small container with enough water or milk to cover it. Use cold packs or non-aspirin pain relievers as necessary. If you are bleeding, use a sterile gauze to stop it. As with above, go to the emergency room if you cannot stop the bleeding.
  • Filling came out: Use sugarless gum to plug the hole in your tooth. Alternatively, you can use a product called dental cement available at most drugstores to do the same.
  • Crown came off: Cover the tooth with dental cement and carefully place the crown back on your tooth. This may help keep it there until you can be seen by Dr. Kirchner. This is just a temporary fix, though.

In all of the above cases, you need to call our Jeffersonville, IN dental office at 812-913-6093 (Jeffersonville) 812-884-8304 (New Albany) 502-430-3451 (St. Matthews) . (Of course, stop the bleeding first.) If you can call before 9:30 a.m., we will see you that day for emergency dental care. Even if it’s past that time, give us a call and we will try our best to get you seen. If this is not possible, we will help you find where to go for help.