ACCIDENTS ALWAYS SEEM to happen when we least expect them. When those accidents involve tooth damage, it’s important to know what steps to take. Being prepared before a dental emergency occurs can save a damaged or knocked out tooth, prevent infection and decrease the need for extensive treatment.
On a recent trip out of town, my daughter bumped into a wall, split her lip, bent her orthodontic wire and even moved a tooth... all on a Friday night. Needless to say I was frantic. I immediately started to look for a dentist to see her on a Saturday. When I had a minute to catch my breath and stop being a frantic mom, I realized I had not yet called her dentist/orthodontist. Once I got to talk to him, he immediately set my mind at rest and let me know what to do. I realized how important it is to have a dentist who knows you.
Many thanks to Dr Jim Bowden!
Step One: Find Your Dental Home
The most important step to being well-prepared for a dental emergency is establishing a dental home. This means finding a dental practice that is right for you and sticking with it. When the worst happens unexpectedly, it can be a great help to have a dentist and practice you trust by your side.
If you have found your dental home, you will likely be more familiar with their hours and know if and when your dentist provides emergency services. With an already established relationship, you know your preferred practice will be able to provide high-quality care, advice and support.
Step Two: Be Prepared
We all know accidents happen. Being “prepared” simply means knowing what to do in certain situations before a mishap actually occurs. In a dental emergency, time is of the essence–it could mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), here’s how you should handle these dental emergencies:
When a baby tooth is knocked out…
If this happens to your child, contact their dentist as soon as possible. The tooth will most likely not be replanted because of potential damage to the developing permanent tooth.
When a tooth is fractured or chipped…
Contact your dentist immediately as prompt treatment is required. Rinse out your mouth with water and find any broken tooth fragments. Place the fragments in cold milk or water and bring it with you to the dentist.
When a permanent tooth is knocked out…
Again, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention from your dentist. Most knocked-out teeth can be saved if a dentist is seen within 30 minutes to an hour of the accident. In the meantime, find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water (no soap), without scrubbing or cleaning it. Replace the tooth back in the socket, if possible, and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a container with cold milk, saliva or water.
We’re Here For You
If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. We make it our priority to be here for you, rain or shine! Do you have any more questions? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!