Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. Dental Emergencies may include teeth that have been knocked out (evulsed), forced out of position (extruded), or broken (fractured.) Sometimes lips, gums or cheeks have cuts.
When a tooth is knocked out you should:
- Attempt to find the tooth
- Immediately call your CDA member dentist for an emergency appointment
- 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
- Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket. This could cause further damage
- Get to the CDA dentist as soon as possible. If it is within a half hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth
- If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person (e.g., a young child,) wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk
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 a CDA dentist see the injured individual as quickly as possible.
How a fractured tooth is treated will depend on how badly it is broken. Regardless of the damage, a CDA dentist should always be consulted as quickly as possible to determine appropriate treatment.
Minor Fracture – Minor fractures can be smoothed by your CDA 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, there are a variety of procedures your CDA dentist can use to restore your tooth to its original shape and function, including the placement of a full permanent crown. If pulpal damage has occurred, further dental treatment may be required.
Severe Fracture – Severe fractures may mean a traumatized tooth with a slim chance of recovery. However, there are dental procedures available to restore even severely damaged teeth and a CDA dentist should be consulted as soon as possible to determine if treatment is possible.
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 emergency room 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.