We did it! We survived winter! Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. If you are like me, you are enjoying the blue skies and warm weather. But outdoor activities and warm weather sports bring with them a higher level of accidents that can affect your teeth. Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports is a simple way to avoid dental injuries. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents happen. Be prepared by knowing what to do in the event that you or your loved ones suffer a dental emergency.
If your tooth is knocked out, contact your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment. Find the tooth, and carefully pick it up by the crown, not the root (the root is the part of the tooth below the gum line ). Touching the root of the tooth can cause damage to the tiny cells necessary for bone reattachment. Gently rinse the tooth in water if it is dirty. Be careful not to scrub or remove any of the tissue pieces. If you can, place the clean tooth into the socket to keep it moist. You do not want to let the tooth dry out. I understand that this may not be possible, especially if you are dealing with a child. If you can’t store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, put the tooth in a container with milk or saliva and take it with you to your dentist as soon as possible. Remember,the longer the tooth is out, the more difficult it will be to save.
What if your tooth is only loosened or pushed out of position? Try to lightly push the tooth back into position, but be very careful not to force it. If you tooth is chipped or fractured, rinse your mouth out with warm water. An ice pack, or cold compress can help reduce any swelling that may occur. And again, call your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment.
Be careful not to use aspirin for pain. Remember, aspirin is an anticoagulant, and may cause excessive bleeding with a dental trauma. If your mouth tissue is cut or torn, clean the site with warm water and have it looked at immediately by your dentist, an oral surgeon or your hospital emergency room.
It is helpful to put a dental section in your first aid kit, and keep it with you. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that this Emergency Dental Care Kit include:
- Your Dentist’s Phone Number at home and the office
- Clean Handkerchief
- Sterile Gauze
- Small container with a lid
- Ibuprofen (not aspirin!)
Accidents happen despite our best efforts to be safe. Here’s hoping you continue to enjoy our beautiful Ohio Spring, armed with the knowledge of what to do in a dental emergency.
© Dr Allan J. Milewski, DDS All rights reserved