Picture this. Child #1 holds a metal baseball bat. Child #2 holds a basketball. Any veteran parent knows this is a prescription for disaster… Batting practice begins. Within minutes, before the veteran parent can say “Stop! Someone’s going to get hurt here!” , the bat makes contact with the basketball, ricochets off and hits child #1 in the mouth, breaking several front teeth. Accidents like this one happen every day, and knowing what to do can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
Dental emergencies occur more frequently in children and young adults, but can happen to anyone. Here are some simple precautions you can take to avoid injury.
When participating in a sport , it is important to wear a mouthguard to protect the teeth,lips and tongue. While simple mouthguards can be purchased in a drugstore, custom mouthguards made by a dentist fit much better. This better fit makes them more comfortable to wear, as well as being better protection. Many dental offices can make custom mouthguards on site.
If a tooth is knocked out completely, pick it up and avoid touching the root. Rinse off any debris with warm water (again without touching the root) and then put it back gently in the socket or a cup of milk. Contact your dentist immediately. Some dental offices have small bottles of sterile saline available for storing teeth knocked out in an accident. These are available for purchase, and are a must for any first-aid kit for parents or coaches.
If a tooth is broken or lips and tongue lacerated in an accident, rinse out with warm water, and apply an ice pack to control swelling. Contact your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room if there is a lot of bleeding.
To lessen the risk of breaking a molar, avoid chewing popcorn kernels, ice or hard candy. Do not use your teeth for anything other than chewing food. It is not uncommon for teeth with large silver fillings, especially molars, to break when chewing even soft foods. If you are noticing pain to chewing, it could be a sign that you have a cracked tooth or filling. It’s time to call your dentist before it gets worse!
Remember, a few simple precautions can lessen the risk of tooth loss or injury. But in the event of an accident, notify your dentist immediately. It can save a tooth! For more information about dental care, see our website, www.drblazer.com , where you can also link to the website for the American Dental Association.