Summer is here! As children and adults get outdoors more due to the warmer weather and enjoy recreational sports and activities, we have some tips to help avoid and limit oral injuries as well as dental emergencies.
Popular summer activities—like swimming, baseball, and biking—can increase the potential for injuries to the teeth and mouth. Common dental accidents include teeth that have been knocked out, broken, or forced out of position completely.
These injuries are often painful and can be easily prevented by wearing a mouthguard during sporting events. Dentists can easily make your child a mouthguard that perfectly fits the mold of their mouth and will limit injury to the mouth and teeth.
To avoid other common oral injuries—like a cracked tooth—refrain from chewing on ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy. A small crack in a tooth can become a major problem. If not treated promptly, the crack can grow resulting in the possible need of a root canal.
If a dental emergency does occur this summer, we recommend keeping the following tips in mind:
- If a tooth is knocked out, find the tooth and immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. Once the tooth is found, carefully pick it up by its crown and immerse it in a glass of milk. If milk is not available, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and place in saliva. Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket. This could cause further damage.
- Getting to the dentist as soon as possible is key to saving a knocked out tooth. Within half an hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth.
- If a tooth is broken, treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture. Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling.
- Minor fractures can be fixed by your dentist. They can be restored with a composite restoration or even left alone. In either case, a fractured tooth should be treated with care for several days. Moderate and severe fractures include damage to the enamel, dentin and/or pulp and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible to determine proper treatment.
- Soft tissue injuries of the mouth—like tears, puncture wounds and lacerations to the cheek, lips or tongue—should be cleaned right away. If stiches are needed, a visit to urgent care or an emergency room may be necessary. Reduce the bleeding from a tongue laceration by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the wounded area.
Call Dental on Central right away after a serious dental injury. We can give you immediate advice on the next steps necessary. Remember, acting quickly after a dental injury is key to restoring a broken or knocked out tooth!
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