Friday, June 6, 2014

First Aid for Dental Emergencies- Part I

Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth, gums or a dental infection can be potentially serious. A visit to the dentist is strongly recommended. Ignoring  the emergency can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive dental treatment.

However, the following immediate remedies can help.

  • Toothaches First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.

  • Chipped or broken teeth. Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there's bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain.

  • Knocked-out tooth. Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it's dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it's facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it's not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available)  In all cases, call the dental office as soon as possible.  Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
  • Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth. See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist's office, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.
  • Objects caught between teeth. First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you can't get the object out, call the dental office.. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface
  • I hope these tips are useful and we will have more tips on the next blog- Dr. Cherukuri

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