Tooth trauma! How to handle an oral accident.

With more than 5 million teeth knocked out every year â and many more close calls â itâs important to know what to do when dental disasters strike. Of course, the best way to fix an oral emergency is to avoid it in the first place! Proper safety equipment like mouth guards, helmets and facemasks go a long way to prevent painful tooth troubles. Knocked out tooth The most important thing is to get to a dentist as quickly as possible â within thirty minutes is best. Doing so will increase the chances of the natural tooth being saved. If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the crown â the end opposite the root â and rinse gently in water. Donât scrub the tooth or remove any tissue fragments that may still be attached. As you hurry to the dentist, youâll need to keep the root and the tooth moist. If you can, try gently inserting the tooth back into the socket. If you cannot, or if it is too painful, put the tooth in a container of milk or saliva. In a pinch, you can also stow the tooth in your mouth, between your lower lip and your gum. Just be careful not to swallow it! If you participate in sports or other physical activities that pose a risk to teeth, you might consider keeping an emergency tooth-preservation container in a gym bag or locker. The ADA approves the use of Save-A-Tooth, a tooth-preservation product available at most drug stores. Chipped or broken tooth When it comes to chipped teeth, size matters. A small chip may be smoothed over by your dentist, while a large chip or fractured tooth can require more serious procedures. If possible, bring the broken piece to your dentistâs office. Your dentist may be able to reattach it â if the piece is large enough. Bitten lip, cheek or tongue Rinse your mouth with warm water and clean gently with a wet cloth. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding and a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling. (A great excuse for a popsicle!) If the bleeding is excessive or wonât stop, go to the emergency room.


Print article | Share article: