It happens. Your children are enjoying the summer weather, romping in the yard having fun in the sun, when you suddenly hear screaming. When you run out, you see your oldest child bleeding from his mouth. A quick look shows that his front tooth has popped out during the roughhousing. Although he seems to be fine (albeit in a little pain), the kids seem fascinated with the avulsed tooth and are actively poking at it in the mud. What do you do? Dental emergencies like these are a part of life. But what do you do to deal with such dental emergencies in which you have lost a tooth, broken a tooth or are facing excruciating pain in the middle of the night? How do you deal with dental emergencies quickly and efficiently? These tips will help prepare you if it happens to you.
Knocked Out Teeth
If you can find the tooth, gently pick it up and rinse the root off in running water. Do not touch the root or scrub it, or remove any of the attached tissue. Store the tooth in a clean container filled with milk and head for the dentist immediately. If the socket is open and clean, you can also try to place the tooth back in the socket. Do not attempt this is if the tooth appears to be broken or if the socket appears to be filled with dirt.
Cracked or Fractured Teeth
There is no way to treat a cracked or fractured tooth at home. The tooth may look fine, but biting down on the tooth will cause severe pain that decreases immediately after chewing. In this case, you will have to get an X-ray of the affected tooth to see just how bad the fracture is. You should avoid biting down on the tooth. The dentist may be able to treat the problem but it will require extensive care.
A broken tooth is quite painful, but you can start by swishing your mouth out with warm water to reduce any pain. Use dental floss to remove any food that may be stuck around the tooth’s surface and apply pressure in case there is bleeding. If the warm water does not work, use a cold compress to control swelling and pain. In case of severe pain, take an OTC painkiller and contact your dentist immediately.
Chipped teeth are not painful but they may be sensitive for a very long time. However, most dentists will be able to treat the problem by repairing the chipped surface with composite or tooth colored dental restorative material. If the damage is extensive, you may require a root canal.
Avoiding Tooth and Mouth Injuries
Although dealing with dental injuries is important, it is just as important to prevent these injuries. About 80 percent of all dental injuries affect one or more of the front teeth, but it is very easy to protect these teeth with simple preventive measures. For example, helmets and mouthguards should be made compulsory during play. Make sure you also have an emergency dentist on dial. You might be surprised, but most private dentists do provide emergency dental services. We recommend you find a dentist who provides this service and keep his or her number ready for any such emergencies. It will ensure that you have professional backup in case such emergencies occur.
Furthermore, ask your dentist for after-hour emergency phone numbers. Dental emergencies never seem to happen at convenient times, but if you’re on vacation or chip a tooth in the middle of the night, the after-hours contact info will come in handy.