Dental emergencies can happen at any time anywhere, often while doing mundane tasks. Eating dinner, tripping on a flight of stairs, or playing sports all have the potential to end in one of the most common dental emergencies, a broken or knocked out tooth. Knowing how to respond to the emergency and receiving prompt dental treatment might save your tooth.

Knocked out tooth

When a tooth has been knocked out, time is of the essence and can make the difference in saving or losing the tooth. Call Eastland Dental Center as soon as possible, if you are not alone, ask someone to call for you while you care for your injured tooth and mouth.

If the tooth was knocked out of your mouth and landed on the floor or ground pick it up by the crown (the portion visible above the gum line) and rinse it off. If there is tissue still attached to it do not remove it, otherwise it may be impossible to save the tooth. While you are cleaning your tooth rinse your mouth with warm (not hot) salt water. Once the tooth is clean and your mouth has been rinsed, try to reinsert it gently into the empty socket, do not use force. If you are successful, the best way to keep it in place is to bite down on a folded up gauze pad. If you were unable to reinsert it into the empty socket, place it in a container of milk and bring it with you to Eastland Dental Center.

Broken or cracked tooth

As with a knocked out tooth, call Eastland Dental Center’s Bloomington office for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. You should use warm salt water and rinse your mouth with it. Gather any pieces of the broken tooth, place them in a container of milk, and bring them with you.

Managing the pain and swelling

To help control the pain until you see your doctor you can take an over the counter non-aspirin pain medication such as acetaminophen. Let your doctor know what you have taken and what the dosage was. You should avoid taking aspirin, as it can increase the bleeding. A cold compress or ice pack can help minimize the swelling. If you do not have one, a package of frozen vegetables will work. It is important to wrap them in a towel, to prevent them from coming into direct contact with your skin and possibly causing frostbite.

You should keep Eastland Dental Center’s phone number (309) 663-4711 in your first aid kit, but since not all emergencies happen at home make sure it is also in your cell phone. If you play sports, ask about a mouth guard during your next check-up; it could prevent a very painful dental emergency.

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