Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth and gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of having permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on.
Here’s a quick summary of what to do for some common dental problems:
· 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.
· 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
· 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.
· 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.
· 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, see your dentist. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object.
· Lost filling. As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement.
· Lost crown. If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you.
· Broken braces and wires. If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position.
· Loose brackets and bands. Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion.
· Soft-tissue injuries. Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here's what to do:
Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution. Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes. To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
If the bleeding doesn't stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.
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