Dental Emergencies – How and What
Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so be sure to call your dentist and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them.
What should I do when a tooth is knocked out/ Pushed out of Position?
For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk. If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether to implant it again.
For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
What should I do when other common dental emergencies?
- For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
- If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room if there is excessive bleeding, the bleeding won’t stop or you are in a lot of pain.
- For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. The item might be painful or cause an infection, so see your dentist if you cannot remove it.
How to avoid Dental emergencies?
There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:
- Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.
- Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.
If a custom-fit mouth guard isn’t an option, try a “boil-and-bite” mouth guard. You can buy one in a sporting-goods store. You place the mouth guard in boiling water. Once the plastic is soft (but not too hot), you bite down on the mouth guard and mold the softened plastic around your teeth. If the mouth guard doesn’t fit comfortably the first time, you can reheat it and do it again.