Dental emergencies: we’re never quite prepared for them and we never want them to actually happen. But once your tooth has been knocked out, chipped, or broken, you’ve entered the Emergency Zone, and you need to know the proper steps to take to ensure that your teeth is looked after as best as possible.
So what do you do in a dental emergency? Most importantly, don’t panic! Keep a cool head and remember these instructions.
One of the main things to remember when you suffer a dental injury is that the faster you act on it, the better chance you have at a full recovery. Whether your tooth has been chipped, broken, or knocked out completely, there’s no time for moving slowly.
Without your dentist present, there isn’t an awful lot that can be done to help a broken tooth. The best course of action in the event of a broken tooth is:
- Rinsing your mouth with warm water
- Applying pressure with a damp gauze to any bleeding areas
- Applying a cold compress to your cheek/lip to help with any swelling and pain – put don’t apply anything cold directly to the affected tooth, as this could cause you a lot of pain!
Much like a broken tooth, there isn’t much to be done with a chipped tooth. As above, the best thing to do is rinse your mouth with warm water, which will help to remove any food debris or foreign particles, apply pressure to any bleeding areas, and keep a cold compress nearby to ease any swelling.
In both cases, you should contact your dentist for an emergency appointment immediately.
Knocked Out Tooth
For knocked out teeth, the situation is slightly more serious, and there are certain steps you must take before getting yourself to a dentist. Once a tooth has been knocked out, you are on a countdown to that tooth being successfully reattached. If you are able to get to the dentist within an hour, there is a much higher chance of you being reunited with your original tooth.
But before that can happen, you need to make sure your tooth is kept in good condition. Once it has been knocked out, you need to follow these steps carefully:
- Be extremely careful with your knocked out tooth! Avoid touching the root surface all together, and it is very delicate and can be very easily damaged. Pick it up by the crown of the tooth, if possible.
- Rinse the tooth gently with water – don’t use any additional chemicals or ingredients, and don’t scrub at the tooth. This could damage it further.
- If possible, replace the tooth in its socket and bite down gently on some gauze. This will help your mouth to keep the tooth’s place in your gums, and could help toward it being re-attached. If you cannot reposition the tooth in your mouth, don’t worry. Instead, place the tooth in a small cup of milk and bring it with you to the dentist.
The force of having a tooth knocked out could have affected the surrounding teeth too, though the effects may not be as obvious. While you are at the dentist, ask to have your other teeth looked at too, just to be safe.
Avoiding a Dental Emergency
We don’t always know what’s coming, and there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll be able to avoid or prevent every dental emergency that comes your way – but there are a few things you can do to help yourself when it comes to keeping your teeth intact.
- Using mouthguards. This goes for you and your kids – whenever you are participating in sports, contact sports such as football especially, make sure to wear a properly fitted mouthguard. This could save you and your teeth a whole lot of trouble down the line.
- Avoid hard foods. We all love to dip our hands in the popcorn tub when watching a movie, but biting down on a popcorn kernel can catch us off guard and leave us with a cracked tooth before we’ve even realised what’s happened. Similarly, chewing on ice and hard candies can leave us with an emergency trip to the dentist. Cut back on hard foods to save yourself the trouble.
Dental Emergencies at Redbank Plains Dental
At Redbank Plains Dental, we know that dental emergencies happen at the most inconvenient of times. That’s why our doors are open after hours on evenings and weekends for any appointments that are out of the blue, and why we keep a few appointments aside every day for any unscheduled emergency treatments.