Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Question: What do I do if I knock out my tooth?
Answer: For a knocked-out adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums or in milk. Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.
Q: What if I crack my tooth?
A: For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. See your dentist as soon as possible.
Q: If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
A: If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Q: How do I treat a toothache?
A: For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
Q: What if I think my jaw is broken?
A: If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.
Q: How do I remove an object that’s stuck in my mouth or teeth?
A: For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Q: How can I avoid a dental emergency?
A: There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:
Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports.
Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard sweets, all of which can crack a tooth.
Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.