Injuries and Trauma

Accidents and dental emergencies happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Don’t want 1-24 hours before you can get dental treatment. Remember delaying necessary dental care never results in your dental problems going away; most times, they get worse, and fixing them becomes more intensive and more expensive.

Call our office at (925) 939-9177, and follow the instructions to make an appointment. If your emergency happens during normal business hours we have reserved some time to see on the same day. After hours calls will be forwarded to emergency dentist for instructions.   Call 911 and go to nearest emergency center if you cannot reach us for any reason.

Here are some tips for common dental emergencies:

 

Toothaches

  • Thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water,
  • Use dental floss to remove any lodged food,
  • If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek,
  • Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.

Chipped or broken teeth

  • Save any broken pieces,
  • Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces,
  • If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops,
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain.

Knocked-out tooth

  • Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth),
  • Rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty,
  • Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments,
  • If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket,
  • If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available)
  • Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

Objects caught between teeth

  • Try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object,
  • If you can’t get the object out, visit us or your dentist,
  • Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface.

Lost crown

  • If the crown is lost use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store),
  • If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

 

Abscess

Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated

Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess. To ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt-water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

Soft-tissue injuries

Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here’s what to do:

  • Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution,
  • Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes,
  • To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes,
  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.

 

Sport Injury

Don’t be the victims of a preventable injury: wear a mouth guard. While mouth guards are not mandatory equipment in all sports, their worth is indisputable. Dentists see many oral and facial injuries that might have been prevented by the use of a mouth guard.

Facial injuries in nearly every sport can result in damage to teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Mouth guards cushion blows to the face and neck. A mouth guard should be part of every athlete’s gear, no matter the sport. It’s better to play it safe than face a devastating and painful oral injury.

Even adults are not free from the dangers of mouth injuries. Dentists treat many trauma injuries in weekend athletes. Whatever your age or sport, mouth guards are an important part of sports safety and your exercise routine. Do what you can to protect your smile and preserve your health.

Do’s and Don’t:

  • Do wear a mouth guard at all times when playing sports.
  • Do inform us about the most common oral injuries.
  • Do wear a mouth guard custom-fitted by your dentist, especially ifyou wear fixed dental appliances such as braces or bridgework.
  • Do not wear removable appliances (retainers, bridge, or complete or partial dentures) when playing sports.

 

What are your choices?

There are three types of mouth guards:

  • Custom-made, mouth-formed and ready-made. Your dentist from a cast model of your teeth professionally designs custom-made mouth guards. Because they are designed to cover all back teeth and cushion the entire jaw, they can prevent concussions caused by blows to the chin. Custom guards may be slightly more expensive than commercially produced mouthpieces, but they offer the best possible fit and protection. They are more secure in the mouth and do not interfere with speech or breathing.
  • Mouth Formed, Your dentist should also fit mouth-formed guards, also called “boil and bite. Shaping a soft guard to the contours of the teeth and allowing it to harden generally do this. However, these devices are difficult to design for athletes who wear braces and can become brittle after prolonged use.
  • Ready-made, commercial mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and are made of rubber or polyvinyl. They are the least expensive but also the least effective.

 

Keep your mouth guard in top shape by rinsing it with water or mouthwash after each use and allowing it to air-dry. With proper care, it should last the length of a season or longer.