Accidents can happen, and knowing what to do when a dental injury occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Dental injuries are a part of today’s active, fast-paced world. Auto accidents, falls, and a variety of contact sports, such as football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball all have the potential to injure us in many ways — including damaging our teeth. Teeth can easily be chipped, broken or knocked loose when we’re physically active. Even just eating a hard or sticky food can chip, crack or break a tooth. Most hospitals hire on-staff oral surgeons who can deal with such issues as fractures of the upper or lower jaw, emergency dental extractions (removing damaged teeth) and reconstruction of the dental arches.
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
Wear and tear from chewing or biting down on hard objects, such as pencils, pens, ice cubes, nuts, and hard candies, can fracture teeth — especially when the tooth already has damage from tooth decay. Dental injuries without associated head and neck trauma can usually be evaluated and treated b a dentist such as Dr. Jason Petkevis at Dental Distinction. Dental injuries commonly treated at our Chester Springs PA office include broken or fractured teeth, and teeth that have been knocked out or knocked loose. Sometimes these injuries include swelling of the adjacent gum and oral tissue. Cold packs or a bag of ice cubes placed inside the mouth or outside on the cheeks or lips near the damaged area can reduce pain and swelling while the patient is en route to the dentist for treatment.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
Here are some tips to help you deal with common dental emergencies:
- When a permanent or adult tooth has been knocked out, keep the displaced tooth moist at all times. Gently place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root — a surefire way to an infection. If that is not possible, place the tooth between your cheek and gums in milk to protect it from germs and from drying out. Then, see Dr. Petkevis or your local dentist right away.
- For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area immediately. Press cold compresses to the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
- If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
- In cases of toothache, rinse the mouth with warm water or even warm salt water to clean it out. Use dental floss to gently free any food caught between the teeth. Do not rub aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit Dr. Petkevis, your local dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.
Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid accidents and injuries to your teeth:
- Wear a mouthguard when participating in active sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid biting down on hard foods that can crack teeth such as ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy.
- Use scissors and NEVER use your teeth to cut or tear open things.
Most dentists set aside time in their daily schedules for emergencies. Make sure to provide as much information as possible about your condition and its’ cause.
Emergency Dentist in Chester Springs, PA
For more information on dental first aid or to schedule an examination in the Chester Springs PA area call 610.400.1459 to see Dr. Petkevis.