I am wondering if a loose tooth is a dental emergency. I am such a klutz! When I was up on a step stool in the garage a couple nights ago, a can fell and hit me square on the mouth. I iced my face and I thought everything was fine. But, when I woke up today, one of my teeth feels pretty loose.
At first, I thought it was just in my head. But, I’m pretty convinced it’s wiggling now. I’m not having much pain. It’s just a bit sore. Do you think it will heal on it’s own? Or do I need to schedule an emergency dentist appointment to have it looked at?
-Heather in Kansas
First off, you need to stop wiggling it and testing it. It is possible that the ligaments may have been torn or loosened. Think of it like a rubber band. Normally the ligaments that secure the teeth are kept nice an tight. But a trauma can cause them to stretch and even break. Therefore, you definitely want to call into your dentist and let them know what’s going on. They will likely want to see you as soon as possible.
Leave it alone, as much as possible. Any more strain on the ligaments and you may cause irreversible damage because they may break. If you get in right away for an emergency dentist appointment, the tooth can be stabilized. Sometimes, the dentist will actually bond them to the surrounding teeth to keep them still. Or they may use another method to form a splint to keep it secure. If this is taken care of immediately, then there is a chance that the ligaments will heal.
However, if the inside pulp of the tooth is damaged, than you may require more invasive treatment. A root canal treatment may be a possibility after the movement of the ligaments has subsided. Then, after the root canal, typically a porcelain crown is placed over the existing tooth for protection.
The first action is to get the tooth stabilized. Then, it can be assessed from there. Until you are able to get in to see the dentist, eat very soft foods and avoid touching it. If there is any inflammation or swelling around the tooth, it may impact the surrounding teeth too. Ibuprofen will help manage the swelling.
It’s difficult to assess the level of damage without seeing you in person. So, if it’s only some minor ligament issue, your tooth will be okay in a couple weeks time. However, if the damage is more extensive, you may require multiple follow up appointments so the dentist can monitor the healing and recommend additional treatment as needed.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD