Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies
Although most dental emergencies are preventable, they often occur without warning. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth. If a person were to receive a hard hit to the mouth, chances of damaging a tooth are great. Some breaks can be classified as cosmetic problems, but others are true dental emergencies.
Dental emergencies can range from a dislodged cap/crown or lost filling to a knocked out tooth to pain or a cracked denture. Some common dental emergencies and their treatments are as follows:
Knocked out tooth: If a permanent tooth is dislocated from its socket then try gently replacing it into the tooth socket. Scrubbing the tooth clean can damage the fibers needed for reattachment. If that does not work, place the tooth in a glass of milk to keep it moist. A visit to a dentist should be made immediately.
Mouth pain: An infection in the tooth may result in a throbbing toothache; a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible. Tooth sensitivity can be combated by the use of desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne. Irritation from mouth sores can be alleviated by the use of specialized oral pain relief products such as Orajel.
Lost filling: The cavity should be rinsed out with warm water. A temporary filling product should be applied such as Dentemp(R) O.S. that can be made into a ball and pressed firmly into the cavity.
Cracked or broken denture: According to Dr. Gold, all denture wearers should have a spare pair to use until the other is repaired. If not, it is good to keep on hand an emergency denture repair kit such as D.O.C. Emergency Denture Repair Kit, available at any local pharmacy.
Dislodged cap/crown: A temporary dental holding product such as Dentemp(R) O.S. should be applied, after that the cap should be gently placed back on the tooth. Make sure that it fits properly; otherwise, it can lead to further complications.
Irritation from Braces: Sharp wires can be coated with special dental wax available at any local pharmacy.
Jaw Injury: If jaw is injured or broken, immediately place ice on the affected area and visit to a dentist or hospital emergency room should be made immediately.
Tongue, Lip or Cheek Injury: The injured area should be cleaned and ice should be immediately applied to reduce swelling. If bleeding occurs, direct pressure should be applied to the affected area with a clean cloth. If bleeding persists, person should be taken to a hospital emergency room immediately.
The majority of dental emergencies result from sporting injuries. The recommended way to protect teeth, cheeks, and lips during sporting events is to wear a mouth guard.
Other situations that commonly lead to dental emergencies include the following:
• Trips and falls
• Impacting teeth against water fountains or silverware
• Using teeth to cut or open material
• Chewing hard materials such as ice and candy
Having the correct information and supplies readily available in a dental emergency will increase the chance of saving a tooth and receiving quick treatment. To be prepared, a person should keep the dentist’s emergency number with him in a wallet or organizer and pack an emergency dental-care kit, including gauze, saline solution and a small, sealable container.