The holiday season is a time for gathering with loved ones. There are many activities to look forward to like family feasts, wintery outdoor adventures or cozy cuddles by the fireplace. When we think about the holiday season, a dental emergency isn’t something we consider.

But dental emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Ranieu Family Dental wants you and your family to be prepared in case of a dental emergency, whether you’re at home or away this holiday season. Whether you chipped your tooth playing basketball, fell off your bike, or had a car accident, knowing what to do in case of a dental emergency can help you get the help you need fast. Getting to the dentist as soon as possible after dental trauma is essential to maintaining your dental health. Of course, we first recommend taking steps to prevent a dental emergency, but we understand these things can happen unexpectedly at any time. 

To make sure our Portland, Vancouver, and Camas area dental family is prepared, here is our dental emergency preparedness action plan for you. 

Prevent Dental Emergencies

The best tip for preventing dental emergencies is to maintain your routine dental check-ups. During your visit, your dental team will examine your mouth for any changes and take action to prevent further decay or deterioration. If you have a crown for filling that needs repair, we will fix it before it becomes painful. If you need a nightguard to protect your teeth from bruxism (grinding) which deteriorates your enamel, we will make one for you. And of course, avoiding risky dental behavior like opening things with your teeth or not wearing a mouthguard to play sports will reduce the chances of dental injury. 

What to avoid

  • Using your teeth to open a soda can
  • Using teeth to open anything or tear anything
  • Playing sports without a mouthguard
  • Chomping on hard objects (such as ice or hard candies)

What you should do

  • Maintain routine dental check-ups
  • Wear a mouthguard while playing sports or riding a bike
  • Wear your custom nightguard for grinding (bruxism)
  • Take action on any dental care needed to prevent further problems (like toothache for decayed tooth)

The most common types of dental emergencies are broken teeth, chipped teeth, toothache, and dental trauma. All of these tooth injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, but if you take the preventive actions outlined above, you can avoid dental injury. 

It’s always best to be prepared, just in case, so we’ve outlined the most common ways dental injuries occur and what you should do if it happens to you or a loved one. Ranieu Dental is your East Vancouver, Camas and Portland area dental emergency team–we’re here to help you feel better fast. 

Knocked-out Tooth

This is a common dental injury, especially during the winter months. Falling on walkways, winter sports or car accidents are some ways a tooth could be knocked out. Children are also likely to have this type of dental injury from sports or falling down. If you or your child knocked out a tooth it’s important to save the tooth so your dentist can reattach it. Rinse your mouth with water and stop any bleeding in the area of the missing tooth. Rinse the tooth off in water or milk, and safely store the tooth by tucking it inside your cheek to keep it moist, making sure to keep the root intact. It is ok to take pain medication in case of dental trauma like a knocked-out tooth. See your dentist as soon as possible so they can assess the damage and decide the best course of action.

Preparedness tip: Make a dental first aid kit and keep with your emergency first aid materials. 

What to include: 

  • Gauze to stop bleeding
  • Mouthwash to help clean wounds
  • Toothpaste or denture adhesive to temporarily hold lost crowns or fillings in place
  • A small cup or a special kit to preserve a knocked-out tooth

Broken, Chipped or Cracked Tooth

Call Ranieu Family Dental in Vancouver immediately if your tooth is fractured or cracked. We don’t recommend taking pain medication prior to your dental visit because it can cause an inaccurate diagnosis since pain is reduced. You can use a cold compress to reduce swelling and provide some relief. Once your dentist diagnoses the injury you may be prescribed antibiotics or pain medication until treatment can be completed. 

A Broken Dental Crown

Dental crowns are used to restore a tooth that has been severely damaged. The crown covers the entire outer surface of the tooth, preventing further decay and keeping the remaining parts of the tooth intact. Just like your natural teeth, crowns must be treated with care to avoid injury. Crowns could break due to teeth grinding, so it’s important to wear a nightguard to prevent pressure from grinding. Biting on hard things can cause a crown to break or crack, just like your natural teeth. You should avoid biting on hard things or using your teeth to open things to maintain the integrity of your tooth structure and prevent pain caused by an injury. 

If you have a broken dental crown contact us immediately. If left untreated bacteria can grow which will lead to an infection that will be much more painful than a broken crown. 

A Painful or Infected Tooth

If you think you have any type of oral infection, contact our office immediately. We don’t recommend taking any pain medication so your Portland area dentist can properly asses the level of pain and diagnose the condition. We may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. We always aim to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible, which is why it’s important to act quickly in case of an emergency. At every dental visit, we monitor your oral condition which lets us see changes quickly. If you develop a cavity we can treat it sooner rather than later which prevents unnecessary pain from severe decay. 

We’re Here For You!

We wish you and your family the merriest holiday season! Should you have a dental injury don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. We love to serve our patient family and community through high-quality dental care.