Accidents, including those that affect your teeth and mouth, can happen at anytime of the day or night. Some oral injuries may need immediate treatment, while others can wait until your dentist’s normal business hours. If the situation doesn’t call for immediate care, it is important to have the right tools around to take care of yourself until you can get to a dentist. You probably have a first aid kit in your home to handle life’s minor bumps and bruises already, but are you prepared for a dental emergency? Dental injuries and emergencies are very common in children and adults, which is why everyone should have an Oral First Aid Kit in their home. With just a few items from the drug store, you can put one together, and be better prepared to handle tooth or mouth injuries. Here’s a closer look at what constitutes a dental emergency, and what items you should have on hand to treat them.
What is considered a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is any trauma to the mouth that may cause bleeding and lacerations to the gums, dislodge or fracture teeth, and may require immediate medical attention. This could be the result of an accident or biting on a piece of food that’s too hard, mouth injuries can cause teeth to become cracked, broken, or knocked out/dislodged. It is important to see a dentist because if left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to serious complications.
What should be inside my oral first aid kit?
It is recommended to include the following items in your home oral first aid kit: dental mirror, dental floss, cotton balls, cotton swabs, sterile gauze, sealable plastic bag (to dispose of bloody gauze or swabs), toothbrush, tweezers, wash cloth, aspirin or aspirin substitute, instant ice pack, bottled water, salt, paraffin or dental wax, medical exam gloves and an oxygenating oral cleanser. While the kit does not replace professional treatment, you can use it to treat minor mouth irritations and injuries as well as help alleviate or control major oral problems until the patient can get to a dentist or physician.
What are some common dental emergencies, and how should they be handled?
When should I call the dentist?
If you’re not sure if a dental problem is an emergency, dentists offer this advice: If it hurts, it’s an emergency. This is because even injuries that seem small can affect the living tissues inside the teeth. Quick treatment improves the odds of salvaging injured or damaged teeth. Any obvious damage to a tooth should be treated as soon as possible. Chips or fractures can affect the living tissue inside the tooth, causing more problems in the future. Your dentist can prevent the damage from getting worse. The same is true of a lost filling or crown. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, the tooth has lost its support and it could easily become damaged. Pieces could break off or crumble, and you would need more extensive treatment. If you see your dentist right away, there’s a good chance he or she will be able to repair the damage more easily. Even if you know the office is closed, go ahead and call. There may be an emergency number or instructions on the answering machine. If none of these options work, head to the nearest emergency room. The staff there can help determine whether the injury can wait for your dentist and can possibly provide pain medication to help alleviate symptoms in the meantime.
Do you have any questions about dental emergencies? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-655-5000 or request an appointment online.