Toothaches and oral pain can happen gradually over time, or even overnight. Good oral hygiene and preventative care will prevent most dental problems, however accidents can happen that result in chipped teeth, broken fillings or injury to the tongue or gums.
The first step is to call your dentist. Explain to them what sort of pain you are having and they will advise you what steps to take next.
If you have a high fever or there is excessive bleeding or signs of inflammation and infection, always seek emergency care right away.
Common types of dental emergencies can include; objects stuck between teeth or under the gum line, bitten tongue or lip, lost fillings, broken teeth and a generalized tooth ache. Never apply heat to the painful area, this will only make things worse. Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever as well as an ice pack to help reduce any pain or inflammation until you can seek proper dental care.
For extreme dental emergencies such as a knocked-out tooth, fast action may mean the tooth can still be saved.
Keeping the tooth clean and sealed in a protective casing is crucial. If you are able to seek out emergency dental care in the 10 minutes following the injury, there is a chance the dentist can clean and reinstall the tooth into the socket. In the case of excessive bleeding due to a lacerated tongue or lip, apply steady pressure with a clean piece of gauze to stop blood loss. An ice pack may also help slow the bleeding. If your lip or tongue continues to bleed, seek emergency care.
Keeping up with regularly scheduled dental check ups are important to maintaining your oral hygiene.