If you have never suffered a dental emergency, consider yourself lucky. If you should suffer one, however, you should know what to do.
The actions you take immediately following the emergency could mean the difference between a minor repair to one that is very serious and results in permanent loss of your tooth or worse!
The Knocked-Out Tooth
The most crucial thing to remember about a knocked out tooth is how to preserve it, especially if you are dealing with a permanent tooth. The key is to keep it moist. Before you pick it up, however, make sure that you can do so from the top of the tooth, not the bottom as you could touch and damage the roots. If you can easily put the tooth back in the socket, do so. If not, place it in your mouth, between your cheek and gums. If that makes you uneasy, you can also store it in a glass of milk.
The Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth is not as serious as a knocked out tooth, but it still requires an emergency dental visit. As soon as you are able, rinse your mouth out with warm water. You should rinse until you can no longer see blood. Once your mouth is clean, apply a clean, cold compress to the area to limit the amount of swelling that occurs as well as the amount of pain you suffer.
In either of these dental emergencies, you should call us and get to the dental office as soon as possible.
Dental Emergencies for Kids
When an emergency happens, the last thing you want to worry about is where to take your child! If your child needs emergency treatment, we encourage you to call us, and we will make arrangements to see your child as soon as possible. We encourage you to start your child's dental visits by age one so that in the case of a dental emergency, your child has a safe and familiar environment to come to.
Primary (Baby) Tooth
If something happens to any of your child's primary teeth, or "baby teeth," you should bring your child into our office as soon as you can. If a tooth is completely out, place it in a balanced salt solution or in a glass of milk until you get to the dentist. The dentist will determine the best course of action for the avulsed (knocked-out) tooth. Although it is normal for children to lose primary teeth, an accident that damages a primary tooth could also harm the permanent "adult" tooth underneath.
A baby tooth should not be placed back in the mouth, but a permanent tooth should. Hold the tooth by the crown, and if it is dirty, rinse the root with water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached bits of tissue. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket with a clean washcloth or piece of gauze. If this isn't possible, or if the child cannot safely hold the tooth in his/her mouth, put the tooth in a container with milk, saliva, or water. Bring your child into our dental office as soon as possible. Don't forget to bring the tooth and any tooth pieces you can find!
If our dental office is not available to see your child, please take your child to the Emergency Room to have the dentist on call place the tooth.
Rinse the mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Put cold compresses (like an ice pack or a washcloth with ice wrapped inside) on the face to reduce swelling and come into our office right away. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to our office. Wrap the tooth piece in some wet gauze or a wet towel if possible.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
Clean the area gently with a cloth and place cold compresses (like an ice pack or a washcloth with ice wrapped inside) on the area to keep swelling down. If there is a lot of bleeding or if it doesn't stop after a short period of time, bring your child into our office, or an emergency center.
Objects Caught Between Teeth
Often popcorn husks become caught between teeth or near the gum line. Gently try to remove the object with dental floss. If that does not work, come to our office. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Give your child what you would normally give him or her for pain relief. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissue. Bring your child into our dental office as soon as you can.