Dental Emergencies and First Aid

Accidents can happen at anytime to any of us, and knowing what to do when faced with one can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Dental injuries are commonplace in the fast-paced world of today. Impacts to the face or teeth can occur during auto accidents, falls, and a variety of sports, such as football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball.

How Can Teeth Get Hurt?

Teeth can easily be chipped, broken or knocked loose during these activities. Most hospitals employ oral surgeons on-staff who treat emergency dental issues such as fractures of the upper or lower jaw, emergency tooth removals (dental extractions) and reconstruction of the dental arches.

Damage from cavities and chewing or biting down on hard objects, such as pencils, pens, ice cubes, nuts, and hard candies, can also cause tooth fractures. Dental injuries that occur without head and neck trauma associated can usually be evaluated and treated in a dental office such as that of Dr. William Harper in Newport News VA. Examples of these kinds of dental injuries include broken teeth or fractured teeth, teeth knocked out or loose.

Sometimes these injuries involve swelling of the gum and oral tissue. Placing cold packs or ice cubes inside the mouth or outside on the cheeks or lips near the injured area can reduce pain and swelling before the patient reaches the dentist.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Here is some advice for common dental emergencies:

  • For an adult tooth that has been knocked-out, keep the displaced tooth moist at all times. If possible, try place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that is not possible, place the tooth between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use an ADA approved tooth preserving product. Then, see Dr. William Harper right away.
  • For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth out with warm water to clean the area immediately. Apply cold compresses to the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If you bit your tongue or lip during your injury, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth out with warm water to clean it out. Use dental floss to gently clear away any food caught between the teeth. Do not place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.

When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit Dr. Harper and his team or, if the issue is severe enough, an emergency room as soon as possible.

Preventing Dental Injuries

Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid accidents and injuries to your teeth:   

  • Always wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
  • Avoid biting down on hard foods that can crack teeth such as ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy.
  • NEVER use your teeth to cut or rip open things.

Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so don’t hesitate to call. Make sure you provide as much detail as possible about your condition.

For more information on dental first aid or to schedule an examination in the Newport News VA area call 757.414.7227 or schedule online to see Dr. Harper and his team.