A dental emergency, besides being inconvenient, can cause a lot of distress. A quick visit to your dentist usually gets you going on your way, but what should you do immediately after a dental crack, chip or break? Here are some quick guidelines:
- Tooth cracks, chips and knockouts: If your tooth is chipped or broken, immediately clean your mouth by rinsing with warm water. If your tooth is knocked out, try to retrieve it. Only handle the tooth by its crown, not the root. If you can re-insert the tooth, do so. If not, keep it moist by putting it in milk. If you get the tooth to your dentist within an hour or two, he or she may be able to replace it.
- Never ignore mouth pain! When your mouth hurts, it’s likely that a more serious problem than just momentary pain. You may be suffering from gum disease or infection. Some jaw pain can be an indicator of a heart attack. It isn’t normal for your mouth to hurt, and you risk serious health problems when you delay getting the help your dentist can give.
- To avoid a dental emergency always wear a mouthguard when you’re engaged in sports or recreational activities. Limit your chewing of ice, popcorn kernels or hard candy—they can easily crack your teeth. And never use your teeth to open wrappers or bottles, much better tools are available!