Are you prepared for a dental emergency?
Most people are aware of the need to be prepared for medical emergencies, but they might not think about the special tools needed to be ready for a dental emergency. If you hurt your mouth or suffer trauma that causes broken teeth, are you prepared to perform first aid for these issues? If not, there are some easy steps you can take to be sure you’re ready.
Preparing a Dental First-Aid Kit
You probably already have a standard first-aid kit with gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment, and other items to deal with minor injuries. If you add a few items, you’ll also be ready for a dental emergency. Some things to be sure you have on hand include:
- Toothpaste or denture adhesive to reaffix a loose crown or filling
- A small cup or a kit to preserve an avulsed (knocked-out) tooth
- Mouthwash to disinfect oral injuries
- A contact number and information for an emergency dentist
Keep these items with your regular first-aid kit or in a separate box nearby. Be sure your family and any babysitters or other caretakers know where to find it. Keep emergency numbers posted in a prominent location, such as on your refrigerator, so they are easy to find.
Responding to a Dental Emergency
As with any emergency situation, you should remain calm and focused in the case of a dental emergency. If a tooth has been knocked out, place it in a small cup with water or milk, or use the special preservation tools from your first-aid kit. Take the tooth with you to the dentist, as it might be possible to set it back in the socket. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. If a crown or filling has been dislodged, put them back in place with some toothpaste or dental adhesive to protect the tooth beneath. See the dentist promptly to have them replaced or permanently reaffixed.
If your tooth has been broken off or cracked, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. She might refer you to an endodontist for a root canal treatment, which can help ensure that you will be able to keep your damaged tooth.
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