Accidents happen. Toothaches, broken teeth (hello, popcorn kernels!), sports-related injuries – more than just an inconvenience, they can be painful, uncomfortable and worrying.

As parents of young kids who like to run and play, we know that dental emergencies sometimes can be the end of the game (literally!) usually happen at the worst times.

Any dental accident and emergency, like an injury to the teeth or gums, can be potentially serious and should never be overlooked. Doing so can increase the risk of permanent damage and the need for more extensive treatment later on.

But, how do you know what’s really an emergency and what’s simply an inconvenience? You don’t want to be overly dramatic, but you also want to be sure that you are treating any injuries with the right amount of attention and care.

First rule of thumb, if it is not causing pain, then it is probably not an emergency. If you are not sure, we’ve put together a quick checklist and proper next steps.

If you experience any dental pain, the first thing you should do is call the office and set up an emergency appointment. During this call, we will be able to determine if you are in an emergency situation and advise as to your proper next steps between “now” and “then.”

We also strongly recommend that all our patients keep a dental first aid kit. (As parents, we find this extremely useful to have on hand – even for peace of mind.) It should include:

  • Small container with a lid (for knocked out teeth)
  • Name and phone number of your dentist
  • Acetaminophen (not aspirin or ibuprofen, which act as a blood thinner and can cause excessive bleeding)
  • Gauze
  • Handkerchief
  • Floss (in case something gets caught in the teeth)

You might also want to look into getting a Save-a-Tooth kit (available online) in case a tooth gets knocked out unexpectedly.

Knowing what to do – and when to see the dentist – can mean the difference between keeping and losing a tooth.  We will write more about specific emergencies, including pediatric emergencies, in a later blog post.

Have any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments, or reach us on Facebook.

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