12 May 2018 Emergency Dental Care
No one wants to have a dental emergency—ever!! None of us like pain or anything that could severely damage our smile. This summer, many of us are going to be a lot of the fun summer activities in Utah. You’ll be at kid sporting events, camping, hiking, and boating.
- First of all, if your child gets a tooth cracked or knocked out, do not go to the ER. The ER does not perform dental work and rarely has a dentist available there. You will have to go to a dentist to get the treatment you need.
- If a tooth is knocked out, many times the tooth can be saved if it is put back in its socket immediately. It must be treated within an hour (or sooner) of injury. If a tooth is completely out, keep the tooth in your mouth under your tongue and avoid touching the root until you get to the dentist.
- For a cracked tooth, rinse your mouth with cool water then use a cold compress on your check to reduce swelling on your way to the dentist.
- When playing sports, that is any sport where a sudden blow could occur, ALWAYS wear a mouth guard. Without a mouthguard you are 60 times more likely to have long term damage to your teeth. Most sports do require or should require a mouthguard. So always have you child wear a mouth guard
- If you have a chipped tooth that is sensitive to hot and cold, call a dentist immediately and have it checked.
- If you have a tooth intrusion—where the tooth is driven into its socket too far—again, go to the dentist immediately. If it’s the weekend, don’t wait until Monday. You may require surgery to reposition the tooth. There is also the possibility that the nerves in your tooth will be injured or died.
- If you have an extrusion—where the tooth is partly knocked out—go to the dentist. Again, it may need to be repositioned into place immediately.
- Are there dental emergencies that could be helped by going to the ER? Yes there are. If you suspect that you broke your jaw, go to the ER. If you bit your tongue hard and it won’t stop bleeding, again, go to the ER.
- Add floss to your first aid kit. If you get something jammed or caught in your teeth, gently use floss to try to dislodge it. Do not use a sharp object like a knife or a stick. The stuck object could be painful or cause an infection. Call a dentist if you cannot get it out.
The bottom line is don’t wait. Get dental care immediately when an emergency occurs. Once they have stopped the problem, they can begin working on a solution. Bridges, replacements, and other tooth repair methods are extremely effective, but you have to get to a dentist as soon as possible in order to give them the best chance of minimizing the damage.