Are you prepared for a dental emergency?
Dental emergencies come up without warning and they never occur when it is convenient. Being prepared can help you stay calm and keep your cool when it really counts. These events can be traumatic, and it is important to know how to react until you reach the emergency dentist.
Identify a True Emergency
A true dental emergency is an event which requires immediate attention to save a tooth, stop continuous bleeding in soft oral tissues, or alleviate severe discomfort. People often misconstrue the difference between inconveniently needing dental attention after hours and truly needing to see an emergency dentist. A small child who has knocked out a baby tooth and is not experiencing discomfort doesn’t really need immediate medical attention. They will need to be evaluated by a dentist, but it can most likely wait a day or two.
Make a Dental First Aid Kit & Keep it Handy
Scrambling for supplies during a dental emergency won’t help anyone and it will probably add to the stress of the situation. You should make up a small emergency kit and keep it handy. The necessary supplies are surprisingly minimal, but they can make a big difference. Affix the dentist’s contact information to the box, so it can be found easily. The kit should contain gauze, a teabag, a small container with a lid, acetaminophen and an instant ice pack. Keep one of these kits at home and in the car since dental emergencies don’t always occur at home.
Many dental emergencies can be handled with gentle flossing, warm salt water rinse and a cold compress to the jaw until the dentist is reached. If a tooth is knocked out do not touch the root or any tissue which may be attached. A visibly dirty tooth may be gently rinsed with water. Place it in a cup of milk or a tooth preservation solution, such as Save-A-Tooth, to keep it moist during transport to the dentist.
Properly handling a dental emergency is important to avoid complications and the need for additional corrective treatment later. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, stay calm and call our office immediately. Following these steps will make emergency treatment easier for both the patient and the dentist.