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Dental Emergency Tips

08/25/2016 09:30AM ● Published by Hood Magazine

By Lee Gertsen, DDS, Family Dental Center 



It is important for parents to know how to respond in the case of a dental injury. Coaches, school nurses and team doctors can be very helpful in determining what should be done in the moments immediately following an accident. Of course, dental trauma can come in multiple forms. Many accidents involving trauma to teeth will also require other medical attention. In many cases, medical treatment often becomes a higher priority than dental treatment. However, if you know the teeth and/or mouth have been involved in the accident, keep these tips in mind:


First, plan to see your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment. If a tooth has been broken, collect any fragments that can be located and bring them along to your dental appointment. These pieces can be useful in determining if any tooth fragments have been swallowed or aspirated (inhaled into the lungs).


If a permanent tooth has been knocked out (avulsed), the tooth can still possibly be salvaged. Prompt treatment is critical in this case. A permanent tooth knocked out of its socket should ideally be replanted back into place. The tooth should be handled only by the top (white) portion, briefly cleansed under running water and placed back into its socket with a firm, steady pressure. If this is not possible, the tooth can be stored in milk or the child’s own saliva for a short period of time until a dentist can be seen. Do not store the tooth in water. The best place for the tooth is in the child’s mouth (along the cheek).


Any teeth that may have been fractured in the accident, loosened or knocked out will need careful evaluation and long-term monitoring. This can often include radiographs (x-rays), temporary splinting and root canal therapy.


Keep in mind many injuries to teeth can be avoided, or easier to manage, if a mouth guard is worn during sporting events. These appliances can be custom-made by a dentist or purchased over the counter. Contact your dental clinic if you’re unsure what is most suitable to protect your child’s valuable smile!
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