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How-to-Handle-a-Dental-Emergency

How To Handle A Dental Emergency

“Along with the fun and frolics of holiday time comes an increased risk of dental mishaps, due to unfamiliar surroundings, new activities and a break from routine. Accidents will happen, but knowing what to do for your child in a dental emergency can make all the difference to easing pain and preventing permanent damage,” says Dr Paul O’Dwyer, group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland.

Read Next: 5 Things You Need To Know About Baby Teeth

How to handle a dental emergency:

#1 Stay Calm

Whether your child slips on a wet swimming pool tile and chips a tooth, or wakes at night complaining of a painful toothache, it is important to keep calm. Depending on the severity of the dental issue, there are several steps that you can take at home to ease their pain and help the situation.

Read Next: How To Make That First Trip To The Dentist A Success

#2 Toothache Tips

If your child is experiencing a toothache, it is best to first rinse their mouth with warm water to thoroughly clean it out. Gently use some dental floss to remove any stubborn food or debris from between the teeth. For a swollen mouth, a cold compress can be applied to the outside of the mouth or cheek. A suitable over-the-counter pain relief remedy can also help to ease discomfort, as recommended by your pharmacist. If the pain persists, contact a dentist as soon as possible.

#3 Saving a Tooth

Should your child fall and knock out a tooth, try to retrieve the lost tooth and bring them straight to the dentist. Hold the tooth by the crown (the white biting part) and avoid touching the root. If the tooth is dirty, carefully wash it for 10 seconds using milk, saline solution or cold gently running water.

If it is an adult tooth, attempt to gently replant it into the socket, using the teeth at either side of the gap to guide positioning. Once repositioned, the child should bite on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place until the dentist splints it. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk until you get to the dentist. Depending on the child’s age and under strict supervision from an adult, you could also ask them to carry it in their mouth, between the teeth and the inside of the cheek. Avoid storing the tooth in regular tap water or mineral water.

Baby teeth are not typically replanted in the mouth. However, it is still important for your dentist to assess the damage, particularly as the permanent successors may be affected by the injury.

Read Next: Should Your Little One Wear A Mouthguard For Sport

#4 Chipped or Broken Teeth

In the case of a chipped or broken tooth, try to save any broken pieces. Gently rinse the mouth and the saved pieces using warm water. If there is bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. A cold compress can be applied to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. Your dentist will need to examine the area as soon as possible, as there is always a chance that some tooth splinter has lodged in the cheek or lip.

If the tooth starts to change colour, it could be a sign of nerve damage. Even if it is a baby tooth, it is best to visit the dentist to ensure that your child’s adult teeth will not be affected in the future.

#5 Summer preparation

If you are planning to travel abroad on holidays, it is a good strategy to avoid an unnecessary dental dilemma by scheduling a routine dental check-up for all the family in advance. It is also worth checking details for a local dentist during your stay, incase of playground, swimming pool or sports mishaps. For summer sports activities and camps, a properly fitted mouthguard is an essential safety feature for children. Finally, do not forget to pack your toothbrushes and remember your regular dental routine!

Dr Paul O’Dwyer BDS, MSc is group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland, a new Irish-owned network of established dental practices nationwide. For further information, visit www.dentalcareireland.ie.


About the Author

Dr Paul O’Dwyer BDS, MSc is group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland, a new Irish-owned network of established dental practices nationwide. For further information, visit www.dentalcareireland.ie

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