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What to do in an emergency

Injuries to the mouth may include teeth that are knocked out (evulsed), forced out of position (extruded) 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.

Tooth knocked out (evulsed)

When a tooth is knocked out you should:

  • Immediately call us for an emergency appointment.
  • Attempt to find the tooth.
  • Gently rinse, but do not scrub the tooth to remove dirt or debris.
  • Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum (adults only as a child would likely swallow the tooth).
  • Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket. This could cause further damage.
  • Get to the dentist as soon as possible. If it is within a half hour of the injury, it may be possible to reimplant the tooth.
  • When it is isn’t possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, (such as a young child) wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk.

Tooth pushed out of place (extruded)

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 person be seen by a dentist within 30 minutes.

How a fractured tooth is treated will depend on how badly it’s broken. Remember that 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 restoration. In either case, you should treat the tooth with care for several days.

Moderate Fracture

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 pulpal damage does occur further dental treatment will be required.

Severe Fracture

Severe fractures often mean a traumatized tooth with a slim chance of recovery. Injuries of this nature usually include soft tissue damage to the mouth. The wound should be cleaned right away and the injured person taken to a hospital emergency room for the necessary suturing and wound repair. See Dr. Leslie as soon as possible to determine what can be done to repair the damage.

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