Dental emergencies can be avoided by taking some simple precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard during sports and recreation and staying away from hard food such as candy that may crack a tooth. Accidents do happen however, and it is important to know what actions to take immediately. Injuries to the mouth may include teeth that are knocked out, forced out of position and loostened or fractured. In addition, lips, gums or cheeks can be cut.
What to do when a tooth is knocked out-
Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. Handle the tooth by the crown not the root. Touching the root can damage cells necessary for bone re-attachment. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not scrub. Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum, or wrap the tooth in clean cloth or gauze.
What to do when a tooth is pushed out of position-
Attempt to reposition the tooth to its normal alignment using light finger pressure, but do not force. Bite down to keep the tooth from moving. The dentist may splint the tooth in place to the healthy teeth next to the loose tooth.
What about when a tooth is fractured-
Rinse mouth with warm water and use an ice pack or cold pack or cold compress to reduce swelling. Take ibuprofen, not aspirin, for pain. Minor fractures can be smoothed by your dentist and restorative procedures can also be done. Severe fractures often mean a tooth with slim chance of recovery.
What to do with injuries inside the mouth-
Usually associated with the lips, cheek or tongue, the wound should be cleaned right away with warm water and the injured should seek medical attention if necessary. Bleeding from the tongue can be reduced by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze for pressure on the wound.