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Tips for Handling a Dental Emergency

November 16, 2018
An old first aid case

Many families have a plan in place for handling a medical emergency, but few have the foresight to prepare for a dental emergency. Following these tips can help prevent people from being blindsided by painful or potentially dangerous dental problems.

Knocking Out an Adult Tooth

Some adults, especially those who participate in contact sports, can be at risk of having a tooth knocked out. If this happens, it’s important to keep the tooth moist at all times. It may be helpful to place the tooth back into the socket it was knocked out of as long as this can be done without making contact with the dental root. If this is too painful or risky, the tooth should be held between the cheeks and the gums while being careful not to swallow it. As a third option, milk’s unique properties make it a well-suited incubator for a dislodged tooth. Once the tooth is safely stored, it’s advisable to visit a dentist’s office as quickly as possible to reinsert the tooth or decide whether cosmetic dentistry is the best next step.

Knocking Out a “Baby” Tooth

Children’s teeth fall out as they age, but if a child’s tooth is knocked out prematurely, it can lead to pain and other complications. As mentioned above, it’s best to keep a dislodged tooth moist, but a child should not hold a tooth in their mouth because they’re far more likely to swallow it. After placing the tooth in milk or another suitable liquid, stopping by a dentist’s office is recommended. A professional can determine whether the entire tooth or simply part of it was knocked out.

Biting a Tongue or Lip

Biting one’s tongue or lips is generally a harmless nervous habit, but if it causes intense pain or draws blood, it can lead to complications. In this situation, cleaning the area gently with water and applying a cold compress should alleviate symptoms. If bleeding occurs in large quantities or persists for an extended period of time, consulting a dentist is the recommended course of action.

Which Dental Items Should Be in a First Aid Kit?

First aid kits are usually packed with supplies to treat minor injuries to most parts of the body, but they rarely include materials for dental safety. Although most dental emergencies should be treated by a professional, it’s a good idea to have a pack of floss in a first aid kit in case something gets trapped between one’s teeth, which can cause pain or lead to an infection. A tooth preservation tool can also be a handy addition if someone’s teeth get knocked out.

Although preparation for dental emergencies is important, contacting a dentist that you can trust is vital. Dr. Grabiak is one of the few dentists in Colorado who has maintained a continuous membership with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. If you’d like to learn more about our dentists or our financing offers, request an appointment with Denver Dentistry by calling 303.988.6118 or filling out our form today.

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