When an accident occurs involving the mouth, knowing the right steps to take can increase the likelihood of saving chipped or knocked-out teeth.
When a dental emergency occurs, call your dentist immediately, then follow these tooth-saving tips:
- Keep a dislodged tooth moist at all times.
- Gently place a tooth that has been knocked out back into its socket without touching the root.
- Transport the tooth by carrying it between your check and gums, in a closed container covered with milk, or using an ADA Seal of Acceptance approved tooth preservation product.
- If the tooth is cracked but still attached, rinse your mouth with clean warm water.
- To soothe a bitten lip or tongue, gently clean the area with lukewarm water and apply a cold compress to lower swelling.
- Alleviate toothaches by rinsing the mouth with warm water, using dental floss to dislodge any food particles.
- Don’t try to remove objects stuck in the mouth with any sharp instrument, but try to dislodge with floss.
There are also simple precautions you can take to dramatically decrease the likelihood of accidents that injure your teeth:
- Always have a mouth guard in place when playing sports.
- Don’t chew on food items that can crack teeth, including popcorn kernels, hard candy or ice cubes.
- Avoid using your teeth in place of scissors.
Keep your dentist’s phone number handy. Call your dentist immediately following a dental emergency, and follow the above recommendations, approved by the American Dental Association.