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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

                                                                      1415 SAGE STREET ~ GERING, NEBRASKA 69341 
      Call: 308-436-3491           

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What to Do in a Dental Emergency When You're All Alone 

There is nothing worse than being on your honeymoon, in-flight, on a camping trip, or on a long car ride when it strikes -- an unrelenting toothache so severe you feel like you want to die.  Knowing what to do can prevent major discomfort. 

Fortunately, the chance of an unforeseen dental crisis can usually be prevented by early detection and treatment of dental disease. When dental disaster does strike (and it always seems to be at the most inopportune time), knowing how to alleviate the pain is invaluable information everyone can use. 

A toothache is any pain or soreness within or around a tooth, indicating inflammation and possible infection. Generally, a toothache occurs if tooth decay is very close to or has penetrated the pulp chamber that contains nerves and tiny blood vessels. Ideally, it's best to undergo dental treatment. 

bulletToothache caused by trapped food:  rinse the area with warm water and swish it about. It may loosen whatever is causing the pain. Alternatively, a cotton ball soaked in lime juice can be placed on the tooth. You can also try using this poultice: Steep a teaspoon of yarrow in hot water, drain the liquid with a piece of gauze, and then put it on the tooth. 
bulletOver-the-counter pain relievers to cure toothaches : paracetamol, aspirin and acetaminophen. If you feel that a small swelling has occurred, you may take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) for their inflammatory components, like ibuprofen and mefenamic acid. (However, those with a history of ulcers as well as pregnant women need a doctor's recommendation before taking NSAID and aspirin.) Rubbing aspirin on your gums to numb an aching will do more harm than good. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which can burn and damage gum tissue. Try pain-relieving gels like Anbesol or Orajel."  
bulletHome remedies for a toothache include: rinsing your mouth with salt water or dabbing some clove oil directly on the bad tooth. Clove oil has bacteria-slaying properties, along with a remarkable numbing effect. Also try the numbing power in cooled peppermint tea. Swish, then swallow if you like the flavor. 
bulletMost challenging are toothaches that stem from inside a tooth. But in cases where a lost filling or a broken tooth is causing the pain, "caulking" the sore tooth with softened chewing gum can ease the pain.
bulletCanker sores:check to see if their toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS. SLS is a foaming agent that in some studies has been linked to the development of canker sores. An additional remedy for both canker sores and gum pain is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil should be applied directly to the infected site and can even be purchased in mouthwash form to soothe inflammation. Another preventive measure for canker sores is to avoid eating chips and other jagged foods that can cause tiny cuts and scrapes, which can be an entryway for a virus. Besides that, stay away from foods that trigger canker sores. Potential troublemakers include whole wheat, rye, barley, shellfish, pineapple, chocolate and tomatoes. 
bulletGum problems: Ginseng can be used to alleviate the pain associated with irritated gum tissue. A ginseng tonic can be directly applied to the gum to promote circulation and speed healing. An additional home remedy suggestion is to use a wet tea bag for tooth or gum pain. Tea contains astringent tannins, which have the power to shrink swollen tissue and stop bleeding. 

No toothache will heal on its own. A toothache is a dental problem that needs to be treated as soon as possible. 

bulletKnocked out a tooth:  Shake off debris (rinsing or scrubbing could remove important periodontal ligament), place it in a container of milk or back in its socket and try to reach the dentist within 30 minutes. 
bulletBroken  tooth: If you've lost the broken piece, just get to the dentist. If you have it, gently shake off surface dirt and definitely keep it. Even if the piece can't be bonded back to the original tooth, it can be used to help re-create the look of that tooth. 
bulletSomething wedged between your teeth: Gentle flossing or brushing is fine, but if the object does not respond to that treatment and the surrounding gum begins to swell, make an appointment with your dentist. A bit of broken filling or chipped enamel can throw your bite off and make you panic. Popcorn husks are one of the worst offenders and occasionally need to be removed by a dentist. W
bulletLose a filling or crown: Cover the hole with temporary material, do not try to put the old filling back in the tooth. If you lose a crown, you'll want to try and salvage it (you can surprisingly use vaseline, denture adhesive or over-the-counter temporary dental cement available in pharmacies to put the crown back in place until you can reach a dentist). Visit the dentist as soon as possible. 

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Also see: Dental Tips for Hunters and Fishermen

Emergencies Continued   Dental Emergencies When Alone   Dental Travel Kit    Playground Alert        Save-A-Tooth   

February 06, 2008

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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