No matter how careful you are, emergencies may not be avoidable. Accidents happen, toothaches strike suddenly, and a tooth or appliance can break when you are doing something as simple as eating dinner. In case of a dental emergency, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it is not possible to see a dentist immediately, unless you happen to break a tooth right outside our door. First aid can relieve your pain, and minimize the damage.
How should you handle unexpected dental problems?
Knocked out tooth
It is vital to keep the tooth moist at all times. Begin by rinsing your mouth, and the tooth, gently in tepid water. Always hold the tooth by the tip, being careful not to touch the root or dislodge any tissues that are still attached to it. If possible, place the tooth back in the socket (be sure it is not backwards), but do not force it. If it will not go back in place easily, keep it moist in a glass of milk or a solution such as Save-A-Tooth. See your dentist ASAP – the tooth may reattach if handled carefully and treated within an hour.
Clean your mouth by gently rinsing with tepid water. Use a cold compress to control swelling, and see your dentist right away.
Soft tissue injury
If you bite your lip or tongue, gently clean the area with warm water. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling, and see your dentist or doctor. If it is bleeding profusely, do not wait – visit the hospital ER if necessary.
Use lukewarm water to rinse your mouth, and use floss to clean between your teeth in case of lodged food particles. Never place an aspirin directly on your gums, as it may burn sensitive tissue. For a persistent toothache, see your dentist.
Use a cold compress for swelling, and see a doctor or dentist immediately.
Sometimes an emergency is simply unavoidable. However, you can greatly reduce your risk by following these simple steps:
- Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports.
- Do not bite or chew on anything hard, or hold an object between your teeth.
- Maintain good oral hygiene, and see your dentist regularly.