It’s summertime, and that means kids are playing and families are traveling. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and dentists often see a higher rate of dental emergencies in the summertime. If you know what to do during a dental emergency, many times it can help you save a tooth you might otherwise have lost.
The most important bit of advice that we can share is that you should always visit your dentist as soon as possible after any dental emergency, especially one during sports activity. Call your dentist and explain your condition in as much detail as you can. Most dentists will prioritize dental emergencies and fit you in to their schedule immediately – but if you need help and your dentist’s office is closed, you can also head to the emergency room.
It’s important to know what to do in the most common emergency situations, so we’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common questions about dental emergencies:
I have a toothache – what do I do?
If you’ve got a toothache, you should first clean your mouth by rinsing with warm water. Use dental floss to gently clean between your sore tooth and its neighbors – there might be some food stuck in there. Contrary to the popular old wives’ tale, you shouldn’t place aspirin on your tooth or gums – aspiring can cause burns on your gum tissue. If the pain persists, see your dentist.
Something’s stuck in my teeth – what do I do?
Again, grab some dental floss and carefully try to remove the object. DO NOT try to use a sharp or pointy instrument or device to remove the object. If floss doesn’t work, you’ll need to see your dentist – if something is lodged in there, it can cause an infection.
I bit my tongue or my lip – what do I do?
It depends on how bad your injury is – if the bleeding won’t stop or is excessive, you should see your dentist or go to the emergency room immediately. If the bite isn’t as bad, you should use warm water to gently clean the wound and then apply a cold compress to help with swelling.
I cracked my tooth – what do I do?
If you’ve cracked your tooth, you should clean your mouth with warm water as soon as possible. Apply a cold compress to help prevent swelling, and get to your dentist as soon as possible.
I knocked out a tooth – what do I do?
The most important thing you need to know is that you should keep the tooth moist until you can get to your dentist. If it’s at all possible, you should try to place the tooth back into the socket, but be careful not to touch the root. If that’s not an option, the best way to keep the tooth moist is to put it between your gums and your cheek. Otherwise, a glass of milk or an emergency tooth preservation kit will work. Obviously, you’ll want to get to your dentist as soon as you can.
My child knocked out a tooth – what do I do?
Just like you’d do with an adult tooth, you want to find the tooth and keep it moist until you can see your dentist. With baby teeth, your dentist will examine your child to determine if the entire tooth was knocked out or if it was simply part of the tooth. Your dentist will then determine if the tooth should be re-implanted or not.
I’m traveling and need to see a dentist – what do I do?
A: Your dental insurance provider should have an online tool that will help you locate a dentist – or a phone number you can call for assistance. Otherwise, you could use the American Dental Association’s Find a Dentist tool to locate a dentist near you.
I just want to avoid a dental emergency – what do I do?
We’ve written several posts in the past that share the foods, drinks, and activities you should avoid… but these three tips are probably the best tips you can follow to avoid any dental emergencies:
- Avoid chewing ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels – they’re all very likely to crack a tooth
- Always wear a mouthguard when playing any sports
- Don’t EVER use your teeth to try to cut anything
If you’re currently having a a dental emergency in DFW emergency, please contact us right away!