The season of sweltering afternoons, endless outdoor adventures, and enjoyable vacations is finally here: summer! However, with this season of fun and free time comes a variety of potential dental emergencies that can result from everyday summer pastimes, like swimming, beach volleyball, and even chewing ice. Here a few of the most common summer dental emergencies and how to treat them.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
Uh oh, you or your child attempted to do an impressive back flip off the diving board; only for it not to go as well as planned. Now, you have a chipped tooth to deal with.
If the tooth is bleeding, lightly press gauze or a clean paper towel against the wounded area. This should stop the blood flow within 10 minutes. However, if it still continues, use a moist tea bag instead. To reduce the pain and swelling, put an ice pack against the lip or cheek closest to the broken tooth and avoid hard foods. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be necessary if the pain persists. If the broken tooth creates a jagged edge that could cut or poke your cheeks or gums, cover it with dental wax, which can be found at most drug stores. Also remember to immediately schedule an appoint to assess and fix the damage.
When dealing with intense contact sports, like football or soccer, or simply even rough teenage boys, a knocked-out-tooth can sometimes occur. If this happens, immediately find the lost tooth, pick it up by the crown (the upper portion of the tooth, but not the roots), and gently rinse the tooth with warm water. If the tooth is permanent, the ultimate goal is to get the tooth back in the socket as soon as possible, so immediately attempt to do so after rinsing it. If this is not possible, set the tooth in a clean glass of milk, saline, or cool water and quickly get to a dentist’s office. The sooner the tooth is replaced in the socket, the better the chances of saving the tooth will be.
Often times, a crown becomes dislodged while you are flossing, brushing your teeth, or eating. If you swallow a crown, don’t worry; it should pass without a problem. If you locate the lost crown, simply use toothpaste, dental wax, or denture adhesive to temporarily reattach the crown. Visit a dentist as soon as possible, since the longer the crown remains dislodged, the more likely the dentin underneath the crown will change shape, meaning your crown will no longer fit.
A misplaced filling can result from several different reasons, such as dental decay, heavy chewing or pressure, and teeth grinding habits. If you’ve lost your filling, you need to protect and seal off that area until you can see a dentist, as that now exposed area is extremely sensitive. Try putting dental wax, dental cement, or even sugarless gum directly on the tooth surface to serve as a temporary filling, and see a dentist as soon as possible.
With summer comes the excitement of travel and adventure, meaning forgetting to brush your teeth becomes a common occurrence, especially in children. However, this can lead to toothache, along with countless other major issues. To ease the pain, try thoroughly brushing and flossing to remove any unwanted food particles and plaque. If the pain continues to persist, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, avoid tough foods, and visit a dentist as soon as possible.
Loose or Broken Braces Brackets or Wires
If you have a loose bracket, temporarily use orthodontic wax to hold it in place until you can visit your orthodontist. If the bracket is broken, safely remove it from your mouth, store it in a safe place, and bring it to your next appointment. To temporarily fix a protruding wire, try to use the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire back into place so that it doesn’t hurt your cheek, gums, or lips. If the wire is still irritating, cover the sharp end with orthodontic wax, gauze, or a cotton ball. Visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.
How to Avoid Dental Emergencies
Most of these emergencies can be avoided simply by being wise, staying safe, and regularly brushing and flossing your teeth. Don’t try a dangerous flip off of a boat if you aren’t properly trained, and don’t dive into shallow water. Mouthguards are also highly recommended for contact sports like soccer, football, and even diving. Last but not least, although it may be pretty hot outside, refrain from chewing ice! Follow all these tips and some of our other healthy teeth advice for a wonderful summer with no dental emergencies!
If You Have Any Dental Emergencies, We Can Fix Them!
We hope you have a safe, enjoyable summer, but if an accident happens, our team of experienced dentists can resolve any dental emergency quickly and easily! For best results, immediately give us a call at (919) 834-4450 or visit our office in Raleigh.