Avoiding and Detecting Dental Accidents
Most dental emergencies in adulthood are the result of a sporting injury. The easiest way to prevent damage to the mouth and teeth during sport is to wear a mouthguard. This acts as a shock absorber for the teeth and jaw, and is particularly recommended in sports where the face may take a knock, such as football and softball. Other activities that can result in adult dental injuries include:
- Chewing on ice, popcorn kernels or anything hard;
- Using teeth rather than scissors;
- Grinding or clenching teeth;
- Brittleness after dental surgery, such as root canal.
If a tooth is broken or has fallen out completely, it is vital to call a dentist immediately and make an appointment. At Reva Dental our dentists leave room in their schedules for emergency appointments and will see all cases of dental trauma on the same day.
A broken tooth
- As soon as possible after the injury, rinse the mouth out with warm water;
- Use a cold compress on the area to reduce any swelling;
- If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the gums but do not press directly on the broken tooth;
- If you can, locate as much of the broken tooth as possible and take to the dentist with you;
- Most broken teeth can be fixed, either through filling or surgery. A crown or cap over the tooth may also be needed.
A knocked out tooth
If the tooth has been knocked out completely, there is a good possibility your dentist can put it back.
- Rinse the tooth very gently in warm water. Always hold it by the tooth and not by the root, as this will cause permanent damage;
- If possible, insert the tooth back in its space in your jaw. If not, immerse it in a glass of milk. Do not dry it or wrap it in tissue;
- Take the tooth with you to the dentist;
- If re-attached within 1 hour of falling out, there is a good chance the tooth will take root again;
- If you were unconscious at any stage, go to a hospital for a check-up.
- Always consult your dentist, but it is advised to avoid taking aspirin or any other medication that slows clotting before your visit. Ibuprofen is a better alternative for pain.
- If anything has been caught between teeth, try and remove the object with dental floss. You should never try and remove objects with anything sharp. If the object remains stuck, or if there is pain, see a dentist.
- For a lost filling, call your dentist and make a booking as soon as possible. As a short-term precaution until you can get to the dentist, place a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum in the spot where the filling has fallen out.
- Toothache, particularly sharp pain or sensitivity after an accident might be an indicator of a cracked tooth. Such cracks are often invisible to the naked eye, and must be tended to by a dentist.
Calling the Dentist
If you have experienced an emergency, giving the correct information to your dentist can save time and problems. Make sure you explain:
- The location of the tooth;
- How long the tooth has been injured or painful;
- How the injury was caused;
- The severity of the pain;
- Any other symptoms, such as swelling or fever.
- If you have already taken painkillers, explain the type and how many. If you have a tooth, or pieces of tooth, make sure you take them with you to the dentist.
If you have a dental emergency call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment; see www.revadental.ie