There are a number of simple precautions one can take to avoid accidents and injuries to the teeth and mouth. The most effective way to reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk. Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which have the potential to crack a tooth.
In general, you should avoid using your teeth as tools. However, accidents do happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can make a difference in the long term prognosis of a tooth. Between the various Dentists at our office, we do reserve time in our daily schedules for patients who need to be seen on an emergent basis. Please call our office day or night to schedule an emergency appointment or to get the cell phone number of the Dentist on call after our regular business hours and on weekends.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply direct pressure and cold compresses to stop the bleeding and reduce swelling. If the bleeding persists, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
Broken or Chipped Portion of Tooth or Filling
Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. You may place orthodontic or canning wax on the tooth to help minimize discomfort to air or touch. There are also some over-the-counter temporary filling materials available to apply to the broken tooth on a temporary basis. Call our office immediately for an appointment to address the tooth.
Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to the Hospital Emergency Room or contact one of our local Oral Surgeons Offices immediately.
Tooth Pushed out of Position
You can try gentle pressure to reposition the tooth to its proper position, but do not force the tooth. Call our office immediately for an appointment.
Tooth Knocked Out
Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments from the roots. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk or sterile saline and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to bring the tooth with you and call ahead, so we can prepare a room and rearrange our schedule to better accommodate your emergency. If a primary or baby tooth is knocked out, it should not be replanted. Call our office for an appointment to ensure there are no remaining broken root tips in the tooth socket.
Objects Caught Between Teeth
Gently try and remove the object with dental floss. Sometimes putting a knot in the floss can serve as a good tool in removing an object that is caught between the teeth or slightly below the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, call our office.
Rinse your mouth with cool water to clean it. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may chemically burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call our office.
Loose Crown or Bridge
Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the tooth. If the tooth and/or filling are not broken off inside the crown, you can temporarily re-cement the crown or bridge using toothpaste or Fixodent (Denture Adhesive). Call our office for the first available opportunity to permanently re-cement a loose, squishy or foul smelling crown or bridge.