Today’s subject describes how to respond to an unexpected tooth fracture or injury. Mouth guards are the best way to protect teeth and avoid oral injury during sports and recreational activity, but accidents do happen on and off the playing field. What you do in the first 30 minutes following a mouth injury can make all the difference in whether you can save or loose a tooth which has been knocked out (“avulsed”).
If a tooth is knocked out, call me immediately (248-356-8790) to make an emergency appointment. If you are out of town or too far away from Southfield, locate the closest dentist or emergency room and get there as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence! If we can get the tooth reimplanted within 1 hour of the time it was knocked out there is a good chance it can reattach itself to the supporting tissues successfully. After an hour out of the mouth the success rate drops off rapidly.
Following an accident, retrieve the tooth and you may or may not rinse it very gently and briefly with water to remove dirt but do not clean the tooth. Be careful hold the tooth by the crown (the part you can see in the mouth) and avoid touching the root end (the part that is under the gum) of the tooth. Wrap the tooth in damp gauze or a clean piece of damp cloth and drop it into a small container with a lid. Cover the tooth with saline (salt water) or milk and secure the lid’s container to keep the tooth moist and secure on the way to the ER or dentist’s office. Sometimes you can place the tooth back in the socket where it may have a better chance of surviving. A last resort is to just place it in your mouth and tuck it between your gum and your cheek.
Oral injuries can bleed profusely. Use pressure from a towel, washcloth or clean T-shirt to stop the blood flow. Do not swish water vigorously or touch the site of the avulsed (missing) tooth. Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Tylenol and an icepack will help with pain and control swelling. Larger cuts and lacerations will need assessment and may require stitches.
When you need help call my Southfield Dentist office at 248-356-8790. If additional physical injury is involved, call 911 for emergency assistance.
That’s all for today,
Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road, Suite 303
Southfield, MI 48034