*Dental Emergencies, ARE YOU PREPARED?*
By: Fuchi
03 March 2004

Would you know what to do if you or your child broke a tooth or had a tooth knocked out? What if you had a bad toothache in the middle of the night or while you were out in the woods and couldnít get to the dentist until the next day or even later? Dental emergencies, from injuries to a painful abscessed tooth, take place everyday. Knowing what to do can lessen the pain and possible save a tooth that might have otherwise been lost.

Your dentistís office number and an emergency number where the dentist can be reached after hours should be handy, along with other emergency numbers, such as your family doctor, and of course the fire and police departments. Remember it is important to always try to call the dentist immediately for instructions on how to handle a dental emergency.

TOOTHACHE: Rinse mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth. This could burn gum tissue. If the toothache persists, try to see the dentist. Donít rely on painkillers as a long-term remedy. They may temporarily relieve the pain but the condition, whether it is an infection, cracked tooth or other problems, should be evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible.

KNOCKED OUT (AVULSED) TOOTH: Try to find the tooth! This may not be as easy as you think, especially if the injury took place in the woods, try to remain calm. If you find the tooth, hold it by the crown and rinse the root in water if the tooth is dirty. Donít scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If itís possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket while you head to the dentist. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful reimplantation.

BROKEN TOOTH: Rinse you mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce swelling and head to the dentist office.

TONGUE OR LIP BITES/WOUNDS: Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding canít be controlled, go to a hospital emergency room or clinic.

OBJECT CAUGHT BETWEEN THE TEETH: Try to gently remove the object with dental floss. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you cannot dislodge the object with floss, contact your dentist.

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW: Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Get to the hospital emergency room immediately.

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