Any trauma that causes lacerations, cuts or unexplained bleeding in the mouth or fractures in teeth must be attended to immediately. If you're not close enough to a hospital, however, the steps you take will determine how well your mouth, gums and/or teeth respond to treatment. Dental emergencies that are left untreated can have permanent negative implications on your oral health. Read on to learn more.
1. Find a dentist
There's little that can be done at home when you've had dental trauma, such as a broken, fractured or cracked tooth; it's important to find a dentist for immediate attention. Small chips or breaks may not hurt, but larger breaks often lead to damaged or exposed nerves, and these will probably hurt a lot.
If you aren't close to your dentist, you can use online sources or referral from friends to identify the closest practice to you that operates round-the-clock. If both options are unavailable, visit an emergency room in a big hospital; usually, they'll have a dental practice. If not, a doctor will help you until you can be properly attended to.
2. Carry out first aid
Before getting to the dentist's office, first aid can help mitigate the level of pain and damage. Use a warm mildly salted water to rinse out any blood. Find a piece of gauze or clean cloth or a tea bag and hold it against the site to control bleeding. Wrap an ice pack (or frozen vegetables) in a clean towel and hold against your cheeks to control swelling and numb the nerves to reduce pain. You can also use a pain reliever like paracetamol; never use aspirin next to an open wound, as the acid will actually burn your gums and cause more pain. Aspirin should also not be administered to children under 16 years.
3. Be careful with broken pieces
If you have broken or knocked out a tooth, it's very important to handle it carefully, just in case reattachment is possible. Pieces of broken the tooth should be rinsed lightly (do not scrub off, as any tissues on it are important) and then soaked in some milk or water if it isn't available. For a complete tooth, pick up tooth by the crown (avoid root area) and try to reattach to the socket if it holds. You can bite down on some gauze to hold it in place. If this isn't possible, rinse and carry in milk or water to the dentists.