Have you ever had dreams involving your teeth breaking or falling out? They’re pretty terrifying, right? But what if that happened to you in real life? Would you know what to do?
Being prepared for a dental emergency will help you maintain a clear head throughout the ordeal. You’ll know what steps to take to salvage your tooth (or teeth), and you can act quickly without wasting precious time. So keep reading to learn a few tips on how to be ready if a dental emergency were ever to occur.
Keep a Dental First Aid Kit Handy, Just in Case
During a dental emergency, the last thing that you want to do is scramble for the first aid materials that you need. A first aid kit will come in really handy because it will have everything you need in one place. Packing a small kit for travel is also a great idea, as you never know if an emergency might occur when you’re far from home.
What should your dental first aid kit contain? It’s actually surprisingly minimal. Experts recommend:
- A small container with a lid (for storing your tooth en route to the dentist)
- Some gauze (to help stop bleeding)
- Acetaminophen (you don’t want to take ibuprofen or aspirin for pain, as those could act as blood thinners and cause even more bleeding)
- Your dentist’s contact information
Keep Calm and Call Your Dentist!
There are a variety of scenarios that would be deemed dental emergencies.
If your tooth is knocked out, act fast so it can be reinserted:
- Don’t touch the root of the tooth; instead, pick it up by the crown. Then rinse it gently with water until it’s as clean as you can get it. The goal is to keep it moist, so don’t dry it off.
- Once the tooth is clean, you could try placing it gently back into its socket. Hold it there and bite down. But if this isn’t possible, use the small container from your dental first aid kit to soak your tooth in milk. If you don’t have milk, you can put it in some saliva or water instead, or you could keep the tooth in your mouth between your gums and your cheek or under your tongue.
- Call the dentist right away and head over there as soon as possible. Time really is of the essence here if you want your tooth to be placed back into the socket, so try to see your dentist within 30-60 minutes after the accident.
If your tooth is fractured or cracked, contact your dentist for an emergency appointment:
- Before heading to the dentist, clean out your mouth by rinsing gently with some warm water. If you find teeth fragments, place them in milk or water so you can take them to the dentist.
- If there is facial trauma involved, you could apply a cold compress so you can reduce swelling.
- Grab some acetaminophen from your dental first aid kit to reduce pain. Experts don’t recommend applying painkillers, such as Orajel, to your gums, as they could burn the tissue. Ouch!
If your tooth is loose and/or it’s no longer in proper alignment, try not to panic:
- Attempt putting your tooth back into its correct position. Just use your finger to apply a tiny bit of pressure, as you don’t want to force it.
- As an alternative to using your finger, you could also try biting down to try to keep your tooth from moving.
- Call your dentist to make an emergency appointment and head over there ASAP.
Always Have a Dentist to Turn To
Having your dentist on speed dial and seeing him or her immediately is necessary if you are dealing with a dental emergency. Plus, when you get your dentist on the phone, you could also receive real-time instructions on what to do. Then, during your emergency appointment, your dentist will take the appropriate steps to save your tooth, prevent infection, and eliminate the need for intense treatments to restore your smile. So the sooner you act, the better.
Finding a dentist you can trust is actually the very first step that you can take when it comes to preparing for a dental emergency. Knowing who to turn to at a moment’s notice could be the difference between saving a tooth and losing it for good. Keep in mind that your regular dentist may not be available for emergency appointments, so you might need to find a backup dentist just in case you ever need one in a pinch.
Staying Calm, Cool, and Collected
Hopefully this information could help you remain composed during a dental emergency so that you can take action right away, whether you’re the victim or you’re helping a friend or family member. Remember, there’s no time to waste, and taking the appropriate steps will make it easier for the dentist to do his or her job.