Tips for a Dental Emergency

Do you know what to do in the event of a dental emergency? Recently, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) released an article giving advice on how to treat such an occasion on Marketwatch.com.  Having a plan and knowing what to do could be the difference in losing a permanent tooth, or saving it.  The first step will always be to contact your dentist immediately.  Time may be crucial in certain situations.  From there, the steps you should take vary based on the injury.  Here is a brief summary of the PDA recommendations.

Broken Tooth:  In order to keep the area free of any impurities, be sure to rinse your mouth with warm water as soon as possible.  If possible, find any missing tooth pieces and save them.  You can also apply ice to the area to reduce swelling.

Cracked Tooth:  Small cracks are actually quite common and often don’t require treatment.  However, if you are experiencing severe pain when eating or drinking, you may have a more significant situation.  Avoid any unnecessary pressure in the affected area of your mouth and consult with your dentist to determine treatment.

Knocked-Out Tooth: When possible, immediately rinse the missing tooth in water, being sure to hold it by the crown and not the root.  Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissues.  If able, you should hold the tooth in the missing socket; otherwise keep the tooth in a container of milk.

Toothache:  Rinsing your mouth with warm water to cleanse the area of discomfort is the first step.  Carefully use floss to clean the area around the tooth.  If pain persists, contact your dentist.

Jaw, Tongue, Lip, or Cheek Injury: Clean the area and immediately apply ice to reduce swelling.  If you experience bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a clean towel.  If bleeding is persistent or excessive, a visit to the emergency room might be required.

When dental emergencies are ignored, treatment is often required later on, and is typically more extensive and expensive.  By contacting your dentist and following the appropriate steps, you may be able to escape with minimal repairs.  The PDA recommends that you keep your dentist’s contact information close at hand and pack a dental-care kit (including saline solution, gauze, and a small sealable container) for emergencies.

Written by Mark Paulsort

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