Top 5 Tips for Handling Unexpected Dental Injuries
Our teeth are pretty strong. In fact, they’re the hardest part of the human body. And considering all that we put them through with the things we chomp and chew, it’s sort of surprising they hold up so well most of the time, even under abuse. Still, we aren’t immune to damage; if you haven’t had at least one cavity you’re something of a rarity. And aside from the damage we inflict on ourselves by consuming diets high in sugar and acid, smoking and chewing tobacco, and failing to follow a proper regimen for brushing, flossing, rinsing, and dental check-ups, just for example, we can also suffer unexpected dental injuries due to slips and falls, automobile accidents, or sports, just to name a few possibilities. And when these unanticipated events occur, there are several steps you may want to take to minimize the pain and harm caused. Here are a few tips for handling the occurrence of an unexpected dental injury.
- Apply ice. If you’ve been hit in the mouth, chances are the area is going to swell, and this can be both painful and harmful to your mouth. In order to bring the swelling down until you can get to a doctor or dentist for professional help, applying an icepack to the site (the side of your face or the jawline, for example) can make a big difference when it comes to salvaging any teeth that have been damaged during the incident. You’ll also want to stop bleeding if possible, so if you have some gauze on hand you should use it to control any bleeding.
- Take some Advil. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may or may not need to seek medical help. Either way, downing a recommended dosage of Advil is probably a good idea for a couple of reasons. For one thing, ibuprofen is an OTC pain killer. Although it won’t have the same effects as, say, Vicodin, it will certainly take the edge off until you can see a professional. In addition, Advil is often indicated by dental professionals as the best non-prescription option to deal with oral pain. And of course, it also happens to feature anti-inflammatory properties, helping to deal with swelling.
- Put teeth in milk. If you’ve had a tooth knocked out in the course of an accident or injury, the first thing you should try to do is put them back in the socket and gently bite down on gauze until you can get to the dentist or the emergency room for medical attention. But if this simply isn’t possible, the next best thing is to keep teeth from drying out by putting them in whole milk.
- Call 911. Any time you suffer severe trauma to the head, there’s a possibility that you could have a concussion, especially if the blow was hard enough to cause bleeding, loosen teeth, or knock them out of the socket completely. In this case you should call 911 for emergency assistance. A good motto with head trauma is better safe than sorry.
- See your dentist as soon as possible. A dental injury may not require a trip to the emergency room, especially if it occurs during business hours when it’s easy to get access to proper dental care. But rather than letting it go for days, potentially getting worse, call Dr. Charles McCluer-Fort Worth Dentistry or your dental office of choice to schedule a visit post haste. Timely treatment could save you a lot of time, money, and pain in the long run.