HAVING A PLAN already in place can make a huge difference if an emergency comes up, and that definitely applies to dental emergencies like oral injuries. How do we plan ahead for unexpected injuries? That will depend on the particular situation.
A Baby Tooth Gets Knocked Out
In most cases, a baby tooth getting knocked out isn’t an emergency. We usually wouldn’t attempt to replant a baby tooth because doing so could create problems for the permanent tooth on its way. However, if the tooth wasn’t at all loose beforehand, it’s a good idea to at least give the dentist a call to get advice, and there might be other damage besides to the tooth.
An Adult Tooth Gets Knocked Out
If an adult tooth is knocked out in one intact piece, there is limited time (not much longer than an hour) for it to be successfully replanted by the dentist before the tooth dies. The faster you can get to the dentist, the better. You can give a knocked-out tooth its best shot by placing it back in its socket for the trip to the dentist’s office and holding it in place with a washcloth or gauze. If it won’t go back into the socket, you can store it in cold milk.
Make sure NOT to do any of these things with a knocked-out tooth:
- Touching the root.
- Letting it dry out.
- Scrubbing it clean with soap, alcohol, or peroxide.
Doing any of these will kill the root and make the tooth impossible to replant.
A Tooth Breaks
If a tooth breaks, chips, or cracks in an accident, you should get straight to the dentist. Try to find all of the broken pieces and bring them with you in a glass of cold milk. It’s also safe to rinse your mouth with water.
No matter how minor a crack or chip seems, don’t just ignore it. A crack can function the same way as a cavity, giving bacteria space to grow until it reaches the pulp. The damage could reach the pulp chamber over time and lead to a tooth infection, abscess, loss of bone tissue in the jaw, and even risk an infection spreading to the bloodstream, which is life-threatening.
The Dentist Is Prepared for Patient Emergencies Too
Besides knowing what to do with a broken or knocked-out tooth, it’s also important to know where to go for help in a dental emergency. Give us a call to learn how our practice can help. We hope that you won’t ever be in a situation where you have to make use of this information, but it’s always wise to be prepared.