Emergency Dentist in Anchorage, AK
A vehicle run-in with a wayward moose, a nasty tumble flying down the slopes, or a slip on an icy walkway can send you to the emergency room with bruises, bumps or broken bones. But injury to your teeth, gums or mouth can also require emergency care. Whether it’s a broken tooth that needs fixing or an unbearable pain in your jaw, when you’re faced with a dental emergency, you’ll want to see a dentist right away. At Alaska Dental Arts, we’re ready to provide you with quality dental care whenever the need arises.
What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is any situation that causes damage or pain to your teeth, gums, lips or jaw, and requires immediate attention. There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a dental emergency, from the seemingly innocent to those where facial injuries are a known danger (we’re looking at you, hockey). Biting down on an unpopped popcorn kernel can crack a tooth. A hockey puck to the face can knock out a tooth. Even a piece of food lodged in between your teeth can create a problem, working its way into your gum and causing swelling, pain or even an infection.
Some of the most common dental emergencies we see include:
- Knocked-out or partially dislodged teeth;
- Chips and cracks to the teeth;
- Severe pain (often in the form of tooth or gum abscess) or sensitivity;
- Injuries to the jaw, gums, lips or teeth, and;
- Broken or lost crowns or caps.
If you experience any of these, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Left untreated, these emergencies become more difficult to treat and can lead to serious complications.
What should I do in a dental emergency?
If you find yourself facing a dental emergency, don’t panic. Call us immediately, and we will get you into the office as quickly as possible. If the emergency includes trauma to the head or neck, or lacerations to the lips or tongue (which may require stitches), you should also contact your family physician, or make a trip to the emergency room.
Depending on the type of dental emergency, there are other steps you can take to minimize pain and increase the chance of successful treatment.
- Knocked out or dislodged tooth. If you can locate the tooth, keep it moist until you can get to our office. Without touching the root, try placing it back in the socket, in between your cheek and gum, or in a glass of milk. If the tooth is partially dislodged, gently push it back into the socket.
- Cracked tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water as soon as possible to keep the area around the tooth clean, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Toothache: Gently floss around the tooth to remove any trapped food, and rinse with warm water to keep the area clean. An over-the-counter pain reliever may also be taken to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Abscess: If there is swelling in your gums, rinse several times a day with a mild saltwater solution (1/2 tsp per 8-oz of water) until you can see a dentist. The infection will not go away without treatment, so don’t cancel your appointment, even if the pain disappears.
How can I avoid a dental emergency?
While accidents can happen even with proper precautions, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of injury to your teeth, mouth or gums.
- Wear a mouthguard. If you’re participating in sports or other activities that pose a risk of injury to the face, such as hockey, basketball or other contact sports, use a mouthguard to protect your teeth, gums and lips.
- Eat right. We’re not talking about avoiding sugary snacks, carbonated drinks and other foods that can cause cavities and erode your tooth enamel (although those are always a good idea!). Instead, avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, or other hard foods, all of which can result in a cracked or broken tooth.
- Don’t use your teeth as a tool. If you’ve ever used your teeth in place of a pair of scissors, stop immediately! Using your teeth as a tool, whether to cut a piece of string, unscrew a bottle cap or pry open a nut shell, can lead to chipped and cracked teeth or lacerations to your gums, tongue or lips.
- Get regular check-ups. Seeing your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and complete check of your teeth and gums can help catch potential problems, such as infection or cracks and chips, before they develop into a full-blown emergency.
If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself facing a dental emergency, the caring staff at Alaska Dental Arts is ready to help. Call us at 907-337-9434 and we’ll work to get you into the dentist’s chair as quickly as possible.