Accidents always happen. Be sure to know what to do when one arises – it can be the difference of saving a tooth or losing one.
A dental emergency is an injury to your teeth or gums that can be potentially serious. Ignoring one can increase the risk of permanent damage. For all dental emergencies, it is important to contact our office as soon as the injury occurs. Provide detailed information about the injury to your mouth. We will be able to give you instructions on how to care for your mouth in the time before coming to our office. In some instances, we may recommend emergency care.
Here are some common dental injuries and how to care for them.
Rinse the tooth with water if it’s dirty and try not to remove any attached tissue fragments. Keep the tooth moist at all times by carefully putting the tooth back in place without forcing it back into the socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a small container of milk or in a cup of water that contains a pinch of salt. Contact our dental office as quickly as possible.
Chipped or cracked tooth
Save any pieces if possible. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the injured area as well as remove any small tooth fragments. Apply cold compresses to your mouth to keep down the swelling and relieve pain.
Objects caught between teeth
Carefully try to remove the object using floss. If you cannot get the object out, see your dentist. It is important to never use a pin or sharp instrument to remove the object since you may cause injury to your gums or the surfaces of your teeth.
Injuries to your tongue, cheeks, gums and lips can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, rinse your mouth with mild salt water. Apply a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to the bleeding site for about 15 minutes. You may also use a cold compress to relieve pain. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, contact our dental office.
You can also take simple precautions to avoid dental emergencies:
• When participating in sports, always wear a mouth guard
• Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy
• Never use your teeth to cut things – use scissors
If you encounter a dental emergency, always contact our Wilmington dental office as soon as possible. We can provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to care for your mouth or may ask you to come into the office. If you have any additional dental emergency questions, be sure to contact us.