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Dental Emergencies

Injuries to the mouth may include teeth that are knocked out (avulsed), forced out of position (luxated) or broken (fractured). Sometimes lips, gums or cheeks have cuts. Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

If a Tooth Is Knocked Out

If it is a deciduous (first) tooth, there is no need to place it back in the tooth socket as this may injure the developing permanent tooth.

If it is a permanent tooth, and the root is intact, lightly wash with tap water or milk to clean visible dirt (do NOT touch root with fingers/brush etc), then replace in tooth socket as soon as possible. The sooner this can be done after the accident, the better the chance that the tooth will reattach. Call our office and we will get you in as soon as possible.

If it is not possible to replace the tooth into the socket, then place the cleansed tooth in a glass of milk and take it with you to the dentist immediately. Do not store in water as this may damage the sensitive cells on the root surface.

Luxated Teeth

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

How a fractured tooth is treated will depend on how badly it is broken. Regardless of the damage, treatment should always be determined by a dentist.

Minor Fracture – Minor fractures can be smoothed by your dentist with a sandpaper disc or simply left alone. Another option is to restore the tooth with a composite (“tooth coloured”) restoration. In either case, you should treat the tooth with care for several days.

Moderate Fracture – Moderate fractures include damage to the enamel, dentine, and/or pulp (“nerve”). If the pulp is not permanently damaged, the tooth may be restored with a full permanent crown, resin or veneer. If pulpal damage does occur further dental treatment will be required.

Severe Fracture – Severe fractures often mean a traumatised tooth with a slim chance of recovery.

Injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth

Injuries to the inside of the mouth include tears, puncture wounds and lacerations to the cheek, lips or tongue. The wound should be cleaned right away and the injured person taken to the dentist 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 wound area.

If You Suspect a Broken Jaw

Go to a dentist immediately who will take appropriate x-rays to determine the state of the break and may refer you to an appropriate surgeon who deals specifically with jaw fractures. This may be a quicker option than going to hospital casualty (Accident and Emergency).

If You Have a Toothache

Take some pain killers such as panadeine/mersyndol/nurofen and see a dentist as soon as possible. Often, dental pain which wakens you in the middle of the night is an abscessed tooth which may also need antibiotics.

If a Tooth is Chipped or Broken

If you have chipped a tooth, try your best to find the broken piece, as we may be able to re attach the fractured portion. If this is not possible or if the broken piece is impossible to find, come in to our office immediately and we can assess the best possible way to treat the tooth or teeth.

Following tooth repair

If we have completed repair or stabilisation of your injured tooth, treat it with care and minimise pressure application. If the bite’s still abnormal, let us know as soon as possible; this may dramatically affect the healing result.

» Prevention of injuries

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