A dental emergency can occur at any time, but now that spring is here and I begin to think about children getting back to the playground and baseball it seems an appropriate time to review a few dental emergency procedures.
KNOCKED OUT TOOTH - If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently under running water - do not brush or scrub it. Do not touch the root. Gently insert the tooth in the socket.
If this is not possible, place the tooth in a container filled with milk or cool water. Go immediately to your dentist; within thirty minutes if at all possible...don't forget to bring the tooth.
BLEEDING LIP, TONGUE OR MOUTH - Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean, cold (crushed ice in a towel) cloth. If bleeding does not stop go to a hospital emergency room. If teeth were involved in forcible impact make an appointment to see your dentist to check on possible nerve damage.
BROKEN OR CHIPPED TOOTH - small chips that do not expose the center of the tooth do not require immediate attention. However, a dentist should see the patient soon for further evaluation: For larger breaks, rinse gently with warm water to remove debris. Avoid eating or drinking anything hot or cold. Place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to minimize swelling. See a dentist as soon as possible.
OBJECT WEDGED BETWEEN THE TEETH - Rinse vigorously with luke warm water. Try to remove the object with dental floss making sure to guide the floss gently in order to avoid cutting the gums. See a dentist if you are not successful. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW - Use a scarf or towel to immobilize the jaw and apply ice compresses very gently to control swelling. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room.
TOOTHACHE - Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean out debris. Use floss to remove any food trapped between teeth. If swelling is present apply ice packs. Do not apply heat and do not place aspirin products on tooth or gum. See your dentist as soon as possible.
SWELLING FOR NO APPARENT REASON WITH TEETH SORE TO TOUCH - You are more than likely dealing with an infection. see your dentist promptly.
ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCIES - if a wire is causing irritation cover the end of the wire with a small cotton ball, a piece of wax or gauze until you can see a dentist. If a wire is imbedded in the cheek, tongue or gum tissue, do not attempt to remove it. Go to your dentist immediately.
If an appliance becomes loose or a piece of it breaks off, take the appliance and the piece to your dentist.