Do you know what to do if you were faced with an alarming dental emergency?
What would you do if your tooth fell out, became chipped or split into half? Could you cope with a serious bite to your tongue that involved blood spurting everywhere? What if you broke your jaw or had an object seriously stuck between your gums?
The reality is most people wouldn’t have a clue how to react when faced with such instances and this unknowingness can cause them serious pain and the possibility of losing a tooth. Your best bet is to follow these medical emergencies tips and phone your dentist if it necessary.
Ouch! If you accidently bit your tongue or lip, clean the area pronto with a piece of cotton or mouth wash. If swelling starts, it’s time to compress a frozen ice pack over the affected area. In more serious instances, uncontrolled bleeding can occur which means you should get to the nearest dental practice or hospital; especially if stitches are required.
If an annoying piece of food or object happens to be jammed between your teeth, it’s best to try to gently remove it with dental floss. Don’t ever attempt to use a sharp object (such as a toothpick, pin or tweezers), as you risk cutting soft gum tissue. If you have no luck in dislodging the obstruction, contact your dentist.
Swelling, pain, numbness in the lower lip, oral bleeding and bruises on your chin are all tell-tale signs of a broken jaw. If you feel like you have fractured or injured your jaw in some way, immediately apply a frozen ice pack against the area. This will control further swelling while you make your way to the nearest hospital. Do take pain killers if needed, but avoid aspirin which will instigate bleeding.
Having a broken or chipped tooth means you need to rinse your mouth out with warm, salty water to kill any germs. Be sure to avoid swallowing any broken remaining parts of your teeth. Apply a frozen ice pack on the affected area if you’re experiencing pain and contact your dentist. If you’ve cracked a tooth, it’s not as serious if it’s small. Do contact your dentist however, as an appropriate diagnosis and filling will be required to treat the cracked tooth.
Reviewed by Dr Alex Negoescu, BDS (Syd).