Nobody plans for a chipped tooth or an emergency root canal. But these dental emergencies happen all the time.
That’s why it pays to be prepared. Take a moment to consider some of the more common of these dental emergencies that can occur – and put together a dental first aid kit so that you’ll be ready. Every home should have a kit, and you should take one with you when traveling, too.
Dental First Aid Kit
A dental first aid kit is similar to the regular kind, with a few notable exceptions.
Your dental kit should contain gauze and other assorted bandages, as well as several clean, sterile handkerchiefs kept individually in sealed plastic bags. Assorted small containers similar to old 35-mm film canisters can be used to store broken teeth. Be sure to include a topical oral anesthetic for pain, your dentist’s emergency phone number, and artificial ice packs.
One thing you should NOT include is aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, which could make clotting difficult and prolong bleeding at the site of injury.
Common Dental Emergencies
Here are some of the most common dental emergencies you should be aware of:
- Tooth Loss. Having a tooth knocked out is serious. Be sure to pick it up without touching the roots of the tooth, Pick it up by the chewing edge and, if possible, try to reinsert it into its socket. If this isn’t possible, place the entire tooth in a glass of milk. If no milk is available, place it between the teeth and gums. Keeping the tooth moist is critical to its survival. For the best results, get the tooth to your dentist within 30 minutes.
- Infections or Abscesses. If you find a golf-ball-sized pocket growing from some point in your mouth and causing deformity of the cheek, it is highly likely an infection requiring emergency treatment. Take some Tylenol for the pain and call your dentist immediately. Do not attempt to pop the abscess – it isn’t a pimple but rather a sign of an advanced infection that may require a tooth extraction or root canal.
- Broken Teeth. While not usually life-threatening, this can be a dental emergency depending on the way the tooth broke and how much broke off. If it’s a small, barely noticeable chip that doesn’t hinder your ability to eat, you should call your dentist right away although it may not necessitate an immediate fix. However, if the break or chip is large, causing pain, or leaving you unable to safely eat, call your dentist to see if the tooth can be salvaged.
- Bleeding in the Mouth. When you brush your teeth too hard or floss for the first time in a month, you might expect to see a small amount of blood in the mouth. Still, this can indicate you may be overdue for a dental appointment. You should contact your dentist sooner rather than later. It may indicate gum disease or worse. Bleeding from the mouth that does not stop is not normal, even if a tooth was recently extracted. Call your dentist immediately.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a dental emergency such as tooth loss, an infection, abscess, or bleeding in the mouth, contact your dentist right away. If you’re in South Florida, call My Pompano Dentist at (954) 941-2412 or request an appointment online.