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Dental Emergencies

Q. Wow! My tooth really hurts! How can I get relief?
A. You should see your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can use warm water to rinse out your mouth and cleanse your tooth. Remove any food or other particles around the tooth with dental floss. Do not, under any circumstances, put an aspirin or other pain reliever directly on your tooth because it could seriously burn your oral tissue. You can, however, as a strictly temporary measure, put clove oil, a centuries-old toothache remedy, on the tooth. Also, if you keep your mouth closed, the pain will not be as intense because cold air will not get to the tooth.

Q. I have knocked out one of my teeth. What should I do?
A. First, find the tooth if you haven't already. Use a compress (a clean gauze or cotton cloth applied with mild pressure) to stop the bleeding. Holding the tooth by the crown (the white part you normally see), gently rinse the tooth with water if it is visibly dirty. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue fragments. If you can, replace the tooth in its socket, but if you can't do that, put the tooth in a cup of milk. Get to your dentist immediately with the tooth.

Q. What will help me remove an object from between my teeth?
A. Use dental floss and attempt to take it out gently. Never use a sharp object to remove anything from between your teeth. If this technique doesn't work, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Q. I've bitten my lip (or tongue). What can I do?
A. Use a cloth to clean the area around the bite and cold compresses to reduce swelling. If it does not stop bleeding, see your dentist or go to your hospital's emergency room.

Q. My tooth is broken and my jaw is swelling. Do you have suggestions for first aid?
A. Rinse your mouth with warm water. This will help clean the area around the broken tooth. Cold compresses will reduce the swelling. Call your dentist immediately for treatment.

Q. I'm worried that I've broken my jaw. What will help?
A. Cold compresses will ease the swelling, but, if you think your jaw is broken, you should go to your hospital's emergency room or your dentist's office immediately.

Q. What can I do to get affordable dental care?
A. There are many factors that should go into your choice of selecting a dental care provider. One way that you may find savings on dental care is to purchase a dental benefits plan. You can select from a range of dental insurance plans or you can purchase a dental discount plan. A discount plan is not insurance. With a discount plan you gain access to a network of dentists who have agreed to give plan participants a reduced fee for their services. It's a good idea to look at the type of dental procedures you think you will need and see if the plan can provide you with savings.


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