Your teeth probably feel pretty solid to you so you may think you they can’t be injured, but even strong teeth can get hurt. Dr. Nish Patel of Manatee Advanced Dentistry in Bradenton, FL has seen many dental first aid patients and has some advice on how to handle the more common accidents and how you should treat them before you get to the dentist’s office.
How Do Teeth Get Injured?
Teeth can become injured in just as many ways as people can, some more severe than others. All injuries should be addressed as quickly as possible to preserve your oral health. More severe injuries from blows to the face or teeth during sports or auto accidents need to be examined immediately by a health care provider. If your injury originated from severe trauma, seek emergency medical attention right away. Most hospitals have oral surgeons on staff to handle severe injuries, like jaw fractures, emergency tooth extractions, or reconstruction of the dental arches.
There are less severe dental injuries, such as cracks, chips, or teeth getting knocked out without blunt trauma. Chewing or biting down on hard objects, especially things not intended for chewing, is often a source of injury. This is more likely to occur if the tooth is already damaged from tooth decay. These issues can usually be temporarily treated at home before you can get in to see your dentist, but it’s important to request an emergency appointment as soon as possible.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
- If the injury was a result of an auto or sports accident, or if there was blunt force trauma, seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room or health care provider. Do not delay in seeing your dentist.
- For a cracked tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. You may also experience some swelling, which you can reduce by placing cold compresses on your face. Cracked teeth are much more susceptible to bacterial infection, so keeping the area clean is crucial.
- For a knocked-out permanent tooth, keeping the tooth moist at all times will increase the chances that the dentist will be able to replant it. Gently place it back in the socket without touching the root, or place the tooth in a clean and sealed container of milk. Make an appointment to see your dentist immediately.
There may be swelling or bleeding associated with these injuries. To keep swelling down, apply cold compresses to the face. Over-the-counter painkillers can help reduce pain, but never apply aspirin directly to the affected area.
Avoiding Dental Injuries
You can prevent dental injuries by taking simple steps to protect yourself and your mouth.
- Always wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods that can crack teeth, or even especially items not meant for chewing such as pen caps, erasers, or finger nails.
- Never use your teeth to cut or open things.
Emergency Dental Care in Bradenton, FL
Most dentists keep openings in their schedules for dental emergencies, so if you need immediate dental care, call your area dentist. Dr. Patel sees patients in the Bradenton, FL area, so please call 941.209.4315 or contact us online to get more information on dental first aid or to schedule an appointment.