Dealing With Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies can happen at any time. You and your children risk breaking teeth or injuring your mouth while eating, playing, exercising, and participating in other seemingly harmless activities. Oral injuries often are painful and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. Learn more about what to do in case of a dental emergency.
What are dental emergencies and how can I avoid them?
Dental emergencies occur when the tooth breaks, cracks, becomes loosened, or is knocked out completely. Emergencies also include crowns coming off teeth or injuries to mouth tissue. You can avoid dental emergencies by taking simple precautions, including making sure you wear a mouthguard during sports activities and avoid foods that could crack or break the teeth.
What should I do if my tooth is knocked out?
Your tooth will have the best chance of surviving dental trauma if you see your dentist immediately—so call immediately for an appointment. Handle the tooth by the crown (the top), not by the root (the pointed part on the bottom); touching the root could damage cells that are necessary to reattach the tooth to the bone. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt, but do not scrub it. Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist. It is important not to let the tooth dry out, so if you can’t keep it in your mouth, wrap it in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk or your own saliva until you get to your dentist’s office. If your child has a baby tooth knocked out, the tooth should not be replanted. However, your child should visit the dentist immediately to ensure no broken pieces of the tooth remain.
What should I do if my tooth is pushed out of position?
Call our office right away for an emergency appointment. In the meantime, attempt to reposition your tooth to its normal alignment using light finger pressure—but don’t force it.
What should I do if my tooth is chipped or fractured?
There are different types of tooth fractures. Chipped teeth are minor fractures. Moderate fractures involve damage to the enamel, tissue, and/or pulp. A severely fractured tooth usually has been traumatized to the point that it cannot be recovered. If you fracture a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Contact our office immediately. Dr Smith can smooth minor tooth fractures with a sandpaper disc, but some fractures may require restorative procedures. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to the dentist.
What should I do if tissue in my mouth is injured?
If you experiences a tear, cut, puncture wound, or laceration on your cheek, lips, or tongue, immediately clean the wound with warm water. Bleeding from a tongue laceration can be reduced by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the wound. Visit a dentist for emergency care as soon as possible, or go to the emergency room if you cannot see a dentist right away.
If you have any questions, give our office a call to schedule a free consultation.
Published with permission by the Academy of General Dentistry. © Copyright 2015 by the Academy of General Dentistry. All rights reserved.