Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Here are some tips to help you cope quickly and calmly with a dental emergency.
Adult tooth-Every way in which you handle the tooth is critical. You may want to attempt to reinsert the tooth into the socket as reinserting the tooth as quickly as possible gives the tooth a greater chance of survival. To reinsert the tooth, use your fingers to carefully put the tooth back into the socket. If you do attempt this, do so carefully by positioning the tooth above the socket and closing the mouth with ease. Gently biting down on the tooth or holding it in place with fingers will ensure it stays in place. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, you’ll want to keep it in milk to allow it to be reinserted by the dentist. It should not be kept in water. Time is of the essence to save the tooth so make sure you take your child to the dentist immediately. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached bits of tissue.
Exception for a baby tooth - Unlike a permanent tooth, a baby tooth should not be reinserted. When a baby tooth comes out, the empty space is filled by the permanent tooth that comes in behind it. Reinserting a baby tooth could potentially damage that permanent tooth that’s ready to come in. If a baby tooth does get knocked out, rather than coming out naturally, you should still take your child to the dentist but in most cases treatment is not necessary.
Broken or Cracked Tooth
For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. Go to the dentist right away. If you can find the broken tooth piece, bring it with you to the dentist. Wrap it in some wet gauze or wet towel if possible.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
If your child bites or cuts his or her tongue, lip, or cheek, it’s important to first apply ice to the affected area. This will reduce the amount of swelling. If there is bleeding involved, firm but gentle pressure should be applied to the cut or bite using gauze or cloth. This will help stop the bleeding and start the healing. If bleeding persists take your child to a dentist or emergency center.
Toothache or Swollen Face
If your child has a toothache, you should first clean the area around the affected tooth with warm water. You can also use dental floss to remove any food that may be around the tooth. Give your child what you would normally give them for pain. If there is still pain following the treatment, the child may need treatment from a pediatric dentist. Under these circumstances, do not place aspirin or heat on the gums as this has the potential to burn the gums.
Possible Broken Jaw
Apply a cold compress to control swelling. Take your child to the dentist or an emergency center right away.