How to Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies

By: drnguyen
Accidents do happen, so it is important to be as prepared as you possibly can when the unexpected happens to you. Perhaps you'll be eating dinner when you bite down hard on your fork and chip your tooth. Or maybe lose a tooth during a "friendly" family football game.

Be sure you know what number to call if the dental office is closed! Here are some guidelines to help you during a dental emergency.

If a tooth is knocked out:
1)Immediately attempt to find the tooth.
2)If you find the tooth, do not try to force the tooth back in the socket!
3)Rinse it in warm water and place inside the mouth between the cheek and gum, or carefully replace the tooth. Do not rub the tooth to clean it.
4)If you can not place the tooth in the mouth, wrap it in a clean, moist cloth or place in a cup of milk or water.
5)If your gum is bleeding, hold a clean cloth on the injured gum.
6)Contact your dentist for an emergency appointment. The sooner you receive treatment the better, preferably within the first 30 minutes.

Tooth-saver boxes, designed to hold and protect a knocked-out tooth, are available from pharmacies, such as Valu-Rite, for approximately $11. The manufacturer of this product estimates 90% of teeth survive up to 24 hours in "Save-A-Tooth."

If a tooth has been pushed out of position:
1)Very gently push the tooth into its normal position.
2)Do not try to force the tooth back in the socket!
3)If the tooth is loose, carefully hold with a moist cloth.
4)Use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
5)Call your dentist as soon as possible and ask for an emergency appointment.

If you have broken a tooth:
1)Very gently push the tooth into its normal position.
2)Do not try to force the tooth back in the socket!
3)If the tooth is loose, carefully hold with a moist cloth.
4)Use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
5)Call your dentist as soon as possible and ask for an emergency appointment.

If your cheeks, lips or tongue have been cut:
1)Clean the area right away with water.
2)If the wound is bleeding, put a clean cloth on the affected area and apply pressure.
3)Call your doctor for advice on treatment. You may need to go to the emergency room for stitches.
4)If you suspect you have a broken jaw:
5)Secure your jaw by tying something like a tie or belt under your chin to the top of your head.
6)Gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the injury.
7)Go to the emergency room immediately!
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