Summertime is upon us! While summer means sports, trips to the pool and other fun activities, any minute the joy could turn to panic if a dental emergency occurs. While these emergencies, like chipped or knocked out teeth, may not happen often, Dr. Gabhart wants you to be prepared.
We’ve put together a two-part blog to help keep you in the sunshine and out of the dentist chair this summer.
Here’s what you can do if your tooth gets knocked out or chipped/cracked:
Knocked out tooth
If your or your child’s tooth gets knocked out at home or while you’re out and about, the best thing you can do is get straight to the dentist. (Take a second here to save our number in your phone – 270-982-3624 – so you don’t waste time looking for it during an emergency.)
Immediately call our office – we will arrange for Dr. Gabhart to meet you at the office as soon as possible. Next, pick your tooth up by the crown, careful not to touch the root. Rinse the tooth with milk or saline solution, NOT water. Adults – if able, try to reinsert the tooth into its socket, root first. If your child’s baby tooth was knocked out, do not try to put it back. Follow the below steps to get it to the dentist.
Head to our office as soon as possible, where you should have arranged with us to see Dr. Gabhart on your emergency phone call. If you aren’t able to fit the tooth back in, you have a few options for transporting it to the dentist.
First, you should try to store the tooth between your gums and molars or under your tongue. Second, store the tooth in a cup or bag of milk. Third, use a tooth preservation kit (you can purchase and have on hand for emergency situations). If you have managed to reinsert the tooth, hold it in place while you travel by biting on a handkerchief or towel.
Once at the office, Dr. Gabhart should be able to offer the assistance you need to get your tooth reinserted and deal with any other mouth trauma that occured.
If your tooth chips or cracks, it may not be as obvious as a lost tooth – but your tongue will probably feel the slight difference. It’s also very common for hot or cold drinks to trigger pain in tooth chips or cracks that you may not know are there.
The first step if you do have a crack or chip in your tooth is to rinse your mouth out with warm water. Then, apply an ice pack to the affected area of your mouth – this will help reduce swelling and pain. An over-the-counter medicine can also help manage the discomfort.
While it’s not as desperate to get to the dentist’s office in a broken or chipped tooth situation, you still need to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. However – if you see exposed root, you need to get to the dentist immediately.
If you have to wait a day or two for your appointment, try covering the jagged edge with a little bit of dental wax (available at drugstores) or sugar-free gum.
We want you to be prepared, but not ruining your summer because you’re afraid of a tooth injury. Here are some easy tips to help your teeth stay strong and break-free:
- Wear a mouthguard! Children/teens playing contact sports are always recommended to take care of their teeth by wearing a mouthguard for practice and games. Your in-tact pearly whites will thank you!
- Stay cavity-free. Cavities make your teeth weaker – so a mouth that’s free of them is a stronger one, better able to stand the test of a few bumps or falls!
- Don’t chew hard things. This should be obvious, but do your mouth a favor and avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy. These can be hard enough to crack or break a tooth – and no piece of candy, no matter how delicious, is worth that.
Stay tuned for Part II of this blog, which will talk about what to do if you have swollen gums, bleeding in your mouth, lose a filling, or have a toothache.
Sources: colgate.com, mouthhealthy.org