Dental Trauma and First Aid

dental trauma

Some injuries on head area can be quite serious and have consequences for your oral health. The most common causes of dental injuries are falling over, being hit in the face or having an accident while playing sport. Also, it is possible to injure or break a tooth by biting something hard. An injury to your teeth or mouth may cause bleeding or swelling. You may also have a loose, cracked, broken or knocked out tooth or damage to your tooth’s roots.

With prevention, some trauma of dental injury can be minimised and knowing how to react in these situations you could be spared from a lot of trouble, physically and money wise.

If you play sports, it is a very good idea to wear a custom-made mouthguard to minimise the chance of any damage. Ask your dentist about the right type of oral protection for yourself or your child.

In cases of dental trauma, contact your dentist immediately to assist you. You also should ask specific advice on how to handle the dental emergency.

In some cases, after an accident, teeth can be cracked, chipped or become loose without being easily detected. Failure to get them checked out in time by your dentist may mean sustaining a problem that otherwise could have been avoided.

Before you reach the dentist, you may have to follow some steps to minimise the damage.

  • Get to your dentist as quickly as possible, ideally within 30 minutes in case a tooth was knocked out.
  • Find and clean the tooth holding it only by the crown. Do not touch the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk, but don’t scrub or soak it. If milk is not available, use saliva or a sterile saline solution (available from pharmacies).
  • Place the tooth back in position, making sure it is well fitted in the socket. For children, if it is a baby tooth, don’t put it back in. The dentist will not try to put it back in. They will leave the space until a new, permanent tooth grows.
  • Bite gently on soft cloth or tissue, or your mouthguard to hold the tooth in place. If you cannot replant the tooth, transport it in milk, saliva or sterile saline solution if milk is not available. Otherwise, you should put the tooth very carefully in your mouth between your cheek and gum and go to the dentist. Be very careful not to swallow it. You can also use plastic wrap to protect the tooth. Use some saliva on it before wrapping the tooth.
  • If the tooth is broken, the broken pieces should be placed in milk or a sterile saline solution and taken to the dentist.
  • If you have swelling, use a cold compress against the side of your face to relieve pain and reduce the swelling.
  • If a toothache is developed, book an appointment with your dentist straight away. In the meanwhile, rinse your mouth with salt water, use paracetamol to manage the pain and, if there is any swelling, use a cold compress.
  • If you have a bleeding after your dental injury, apply pressure over the area with a clean cotton handkerchief, slightly dampened with clean water. Keep it in place for 15 minutes without removing it.
  • Check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If not, repeat the process and keep the gauze in place until you are seen by the dentist.
  • If you are in pain, get advice on pain relief medicines you could take.
  • If your braces, retainers or other appliances are broken or damaged, you shouldn’t wear them until they have been checked and adjusted by their orthodontist.

For emergency dental appointments please call us on 02 8021 5285.

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