Public Service Announcements

Dental Emergencies

Injuries to the mouth may include teeth that are evulsed (knocked out), extruded (forced inward or outward), or fractured (broken). Such injuries may be accompanied by lacerations (cuts) of the lips, gums, or cheeks. Individuals who have oral injuries are usually in pain and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible.

Evulsed Teeth

When an emergency occurs with an evulsed tooth you are advised to do the following:

  • Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment.
  • Attempt to find the tooth.
  • The evulsed tooth should be gently rinsed (not scrubbed) to remove dirt and debris.
  • The tooth then should be placed in the mouth between the cheek and gum.
  • Do not attempt to replace the tooth in the socket. This could cause further damage.
  • You will have 30 minutes to get to the dentist to see if the tooth can be reimplanted into the original socket and stabilized.
  • If the injury is to a child and mouth storage is not possible, wrap the evulsed tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk.

Extruded Teeth

If the tooth is extruded or displaced (inward or outward), it should be repositioned with very light finger pressure to its normal alignment. Do not force the tooth into the socket. The tooth should be held in place during transportation to the dentist using a moist tissue or gauze. Again, it is vital that the injured individual be seen by a dentist within 30 minutes.

Fractured teeth

The treatment of a fractured tooth is dictated by the extent of the injury. Regardless of the damage, an individual should always be seen by a dentist. Minor fractures can be smoothed by the dentist with a sandpaper disc or simply left alone. Another option is to restore the tooth with a composite restoration. In either case, you should treat the tooth with care for several days. Moderate fractures include damage to the enamel, dentin and/or pulp. If the pulp is not permanently damaged, the tooth may be restored with a full permanent crown. If damage to the pulp does occur, further dental treatment will be required. Severe fractures often mean a traumatized tooth which has a slim chance of recovery. Injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth Injuries to the inside of the mouth include tears of the cheek, puncture wounds, lacerations of the tongue, and severe lacerations of the lips. Immediate attention should be given to cleaning the wound and transportation to the emergency room for the necessary suturing and wound repair. Bleeding from a tongue laceration can be reduced by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the would area. The individual should be taken immediately to the emergency room for examination and proper care.

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