Dental Emergencies

by Kathleen

Warm weather is upon us.  This means majority of us will spend summer outdoors.  Especially the kids being out of school, parents are busy keeping the young ones occupied with activities.

No matter what kind of activity one will enjoy this season, safety is always priority.  Accidents happen and the following are some tips on how to handle dental emergencies:

Soft Tissue Injury

This includes cuts or lacerations on the gums, lips, tongue and cheek.  The mouth should be rinsed with warm water.  In the event that bleeding is present put gauze on the area and keep pressure.  This should minimize bleeding.  However the patient may be taken to the hospital emergency or dentist to get necessary treatment.

Fractured Tooth

In the event of a fractured tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water.  Apply a cold compress on the area and take ibuprofen for pain.  Call your dentist to get the tooth seen as soon as possible.

A minor chip of the enamel surface of the tooth may be smoothed by your dentist as the only treatment. If it is an aesthetic concern, it may need more definitive care.

Moderate fractures involve enamel, dentin and pulpal trauma. The pulp may or may not be exposed. Without a pulp exposure, a filling may be all that is necessary.  However, traumatized pulp may need more involved care in the future (root canal therapy and a crown) depending on the ability of the pulp to recover.

When the tooth is severely traumatized- fractured root and supporting bone, it is a severe fracture. The tooth in all likelihood can’t be saved and more involved care over a longer period of time may be needed.

Loosened Tooth

If the tooth is pushed out of position, apply gentle finger pressure (never use force!) to put it back into place.  Close down to keep the tooth in place then call your dentist for an emergency appointment.

Knocked Out Tooth

In this situation, call your dentist for an emergency appointment.  It is best to see your dentist within the hour of when the tooth is knocked out.  It will have the best chance of reattachment to its socket.  In the meantime, the knocked out tooth should be kept moist.  Handle the tooth by the crown part, removing any debris with cool water (never scrub the tooth).  Once the tooth is clean, you can place it inside the mouth between the gum and the cheek.  Or you can wrap the tooth in clean gauze and immerse it in milk.

Most of these injuries can be avoided by wearing a sports mouth guard custom made to your teeth.  If you can’t get a custom made one, then at minimum a store bought off the shelf boill and bite one is better than not having one.  It is highly recommended during recreational activities (any kind of sports, biking, etc).

While we’re on the subject of being careful, be careful with what you eat and put in your mouth. Listen to Mom! Keep the things she always told you to keep out of your mouth- pens, pencils, bobby pins, fork tines and the like that can also minimize the risk of dental trauma.

Enjoy the summer and remember Oral wellness, whole health!

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