You are riding your bike, hit a bump, and go flying. Your child is cleaning up on the soccer field when the ball flies up and hits her in the mouth. You are absent-mindedly chewing on a piece of hard candy, and *crack* (that wasn’t the candy). Maybe you aren’t doing anything at all, but your tooth is in excruciating pain.
What do you do? When a dental emergency strikes, it’s easy to panic. But there is no need. At Kirchner Dental of Jeffersonville, IN, we are prepared to handle your urgent situation. Call us at 812-913-6093, and we will fit you in the same day.
Be Prepared at Home
A true dental emergency will require a prompt trip to the dentist, and at Kirchner Dental, we will find time to see you right away. But if you are prepared at home when emergency strikes, the entire experience will be less frightening and go over much more smoothly. One way you can be a step ahead in an emergency situation is to have a dental first-aid kit on hand. You may already have a general first-aid kit in your medicine cabinet. A dental first-aid kit is the same idea, but contains items to help with mouth injuries and pain.
You may purchase a premade dental first-aid kit online or in some stores, but it’s not difficult to put one together yourself. Items to consider including are:
- Dental mirror
- Small flashlight
- A small container to hold an unattached tooth
- A toothbrush, dental floss, and toothpicks
- Temporary dental cement, which can hold restorations in place until you see us
- Dental wax, which can protect the soft tissues of the mouth from the sharp edges of a chipped tooth or braces. It can also be used as a sort of temporary filling in a pinch.
- Sterile gauze and tea bags to help control bleeding (the tea bag should be wet before you use it)
- Cotton swabs
- Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning up wounds
- Ice pack
- Clove oil (or eugenol) to help relieve pain
- Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Disposable medical exam gloves (to avoid introducing harmful microbes into the mouth and wound)
How to Manage a Dental Emergency
What you should do depends, of course, on the nature of your emergency. Here are a few common scenarios, and what you should do in each case. One thing they all have in common is they will need to be checked out by Dr. Kirchner. So call us for an appointment as soon as you are able to do so.
A tooth that’s totally knocked out of its socket can be saved under the right circumstances. It must be kept moist, and you must see Dr. Kirchner ASAP. The sooner you see him, the better your chances of keeping the tooth. When you handle the tooth, be sure to not touch the root. You can try placing the tooth back in its socket (only if it seems to fit well and is facing the correct way) or storing it between your cheek and gum. Only do this if you are sure you will not accidentally swallow the tooth, and we don’t recommend having children store their knocked-out teeth in their mouths. You may also keep the tooth in a little milk, saliva, or water with a pinch of salt in a small cup.
For a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, preserve any loose pieces. Carefully rinse your mouth with warm water. If your face is swollen, a cold pack can help. Take over-the-counter pain relievers (but not aspirin) if needed.
A stick of sugarless gum or dental cement can replace a lost filling until you see us. If a crown falls off, apply a little clove oil to the spot and temporarily re-attach the crown with dental cement.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, gently attempt to remove food stuck between the teeth with floss. Remember that an abscess is a serious infection that requires immediate medical attention!
Being smart about your oral health — visiting the dentist for regular checkups, wearing a protective mouthguard during sports, and not chewing hard objects that could damage your teeth — can go far in preventing dental emergencies. But we understand that things happen, and you can’t avoid them all.
If you live the Jeffersonville, IN area, the first call you should make in a dental emergency is to Kirchner Dental. We will patch you up and make your mouth healthy once again. Ring us at 812-913-6093. For non-emergency matters, we can also be reached via our web form.