What to Do in a Dental Emergency

When a dental emergency strikes, knowing how to react can mean the difference between saving a tooth or not. Today, our team at Henson Family Dental want to talk about a few common dental emergencies and help you come up with a plan for how to react in the event that something happens.

girl holding her lower tooth with a dental emergency

Toothache

Toothaches are very common, and can have a variety of causes. The first thing you should do is gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. If you notice that something is irritating your teeth (like a food particle trapped between teeth or between your tooth and gum), you can try to gently floss to remove it. If this doesn’t ease your pain, call our office for help. In many cases, we can see patients same-day for emergencies.

Cracked Tooth

Once you realize that you’ve chipped or cracked a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it and keep an infection from developing. If you notice that the area around your tooth is swollen, you can use a cold compress. Then, call our office to learn about next steps.

Lost Tooth

If for some reason your tooth gets knocked out, don’t panic – there’s still a chance you can save your tooth. If possible, place your tooth back in its socket without touching the root. If this is impossible, you can also place it between your teeth and gums. If neither is possible, you can place the tooth in a glass of milk. Regardless, it is important to keep your tooth moist. Call our office immediately.

No matter your dental emergency, call our office as quickly as possible. Our highly trained team knows what to do in just about every situation to help you preserve the health of your teeth. To ask us any questions or schedule your next visit, contact our office today!

History of Dental Implants

Why Are Dental Implants Necessary?

We’ve been dealing with tooth loss literally for all of human history. Whether teeth are lost from decay, accident, or disease, it’s important to deal with the missing tooth (or teeth) promptly, because failing to do so can result in the following scenarios:

  • Missing teeth will affect the way that you eat and speak
  • Existing teeth will often shift
  • Jawbone degeneration from a missing tooth or teeth can cause the shape of your face to change

History of Dental Implants

Our ancestors have always been losing teeth, and basically for all of that time, the techniques they experimented with would eventually develop into modern dental implants. Consider the following ancient cultures and their dental practices:

terracota warriors in ancient china

  • Ancient China
    Archeological evidence from ancient China dating back 4000 years shows pegs carved from bamboo that were then tapped into the jawbone to replace missing teeth.
  • Ancient Egypt
    2,000-year-old remains from ancient Egypt attest to the practice of implanting precious metals, ivory, and in some cases, even transplanted human teeth.
  • Ancient Honduras
    A lower jaw dating back to 600 AD was found in Honduras with three missing teeth that had been replaced with pieces of tooth-shaped shells.

Modern Dental Implants

Dental implants have made great strides since ancient times and in more recent decades, especially since the 1950’s. In 1952 a Swedish doctor discovered that titanium screws inserted into the jawbone, where the tooth used to be, connect to the living bone tissue, literally joining it to the bone in a term know as osseointegration. After the titanium screw is fused to bone, a post is placed atop it with a crown.

Although dental implants as recently as the 19th century were dodgy and did not have a high rate of success, the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness quotes clinical studies that show modern dental implants as having a success rate above 95 percent.

Are you missing a tooth or teeth? Chances are good that you’re a candidate for dental implants! Contact our office today to learn more about dental implants and to schedule a consultation with our team!

Can I Write Off Emergency Dental Procedures?

A pink piggy bank that stores money stands against a darker pink background

Spring is in the air and April is right around the corner! While many of us may look forward to longer days, chances are a larger majority of us are dreading April’s arrival because of Tax Day. The taxman cometh every year, but there’s some extra anxiety about it this year in the wake of tax reform.

Can I Write Off Emergency Dental Procedures?

Before we dive into this question, please bear in mind that you want to check with your accountant or tax advisor to make sure that you are eligible to make these deductions.

The short answer is yes! But there are several qualifiers:

  • To write off dental work, you must itemize your deductions.
  • At least for 2017 and 2018 tax returns, the deduction for medical expenses must meet a threshold of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). You may only deduct the amount of your total medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your AGI.
  • Dental expenses that qualify for a tax write off must be medically necessary and preventive, while purely cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening are not eligible.

Affordable Dental Care

Dr. Henson and our team at Henson Family Dental pride ourselves on making the financial burden of dental care as manageable as possible for our patients. We accept a variety of different dental insurance plans and third party financing to help you get the dental care you need when you need it. We accept and file most insurance claims and help you maximize your dental insurance benefits.

At Henson Family Dental, we also accept CareCredit® patient financing. This option allows our patients to split up the cost of their treatments into manageable monthly payments. Visit the CareCredit website for more information about this payment option.

Contact Our Office

Your smile is priceless and all of us at Henson Family Dental want to be sure that you can keep up with regular cleaning and preventive work. If you have any questions regarding your taxes, dental insurance, or other payment options, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency

first aid case to prepare for dental emergency

Just like a first aid kit, it isn’t a bad idea to have some items on hand for a dental emergency. Many people experience dental emergencies, even those who have excellent oral health. After all, you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with major tooth pain and have no way of taking care of yourself. Here are a few items we recommend keeping on hand in case something happens.

Gloves for Sterile Handling of Tooth

If you have a knocked-out tooth or a tooth that gets out of alignment, it’s important to remember not to touch to tooth. You don’t want to spread bacteria. If you have a tooth knocked out, use gloves to pick the tooth up by the crown (the top part) rather than the root. If you touch the tooth with dirty hands, you risk spreading bacteria to the tooth. This could cause problems with trying to reattach the tooth. Place the tooth either back in the socket (if possible) or in a cup of milk until you can see us.

Similarly, if a tooth gets knocked out of alignment, you don’t want to touch the tooth with bare hands if you can help it. Put on some gloves and gently try to move the tooth back to its original position. Keeping the tooth and mouth area clean and sterile is very important. Even recently washed hands can still have bacteria that will easily spread to the inside of your mouth.

Salt or Kosher Salt

Salt and warm water rinses are one of the best things you can do if you’re having a toothache caused by a cavity, an abscess, or any other type of dental issue. Not only does warm salt water act as a sterilizing agent that can help with infections, but it can also bring some relief from the pain of a toothache. Gargling salt water can even help ease a sore throat! Just remember to use warm water, not cold or hot. Mix with a tablespoon or two of salt for a rinse, swish gently for several seconds, and spit out!

Cold Compress

Cold compresses are really useful for bringing down swelling. If you crack or fracture a tooth, you may start swelling up immediately. A cold compress can easily bring down swelling. Just apply the compress to the cheek area over the swelling. Do this a few times an hour, or however often you can handle it. Take an acetaminophen (not aspirin) to alleviate some of the pain, and call our office right away.

Many of the things you need for a dental emergency are usually on hand. Just in case, though, make a separate kit next to your first aid kit so you can easily find the items you need if you have a dental problem. Most importantly, keep our number handy so you can call us right away to schedule an appointment for emergency dental care!