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What to do in a Dental Emergency

Accidents are inevitable, and incidents involving your teeth are no exception. But, when accidents happen, the steps you take could mean the difference between losing or keeping your pearly whites intact.

CARY, N.C. – Accidents are inevitable, and incidents involving your teeth are no exception. But, when accidents happen, the steps you take could mean the difference between losing or keeping your pearly whites intact.

No matter the nature of the dental emergency, the North Carolina Dental Society stresses the importance of calling and visiting your dentist as soon as possible. Most dentists reserve time in their schedules for emergency patients. The emergency room also is an option if an accident occurs after hours.

“While you cannot prevent every accident from occurring, there are proactive steps you can take to avoid unnecessary injury to your teeth and mouth,” said Dr. Bradley Adkins of Adkins Dentistry in New Bern. “Always wear a mouth guard while playing sports and use scissors, not your teeth, to cut things. Avoid chewing hard candy, ice or popcorn kernels, which can lead to a cracked tooth.”

Should you experience one of these emergencies, follow these dentist-recommended tips:

  • For a knocked-out tooth, try to keep it moist at all times. If it’s possible, and without touching the root, try placing the tooth back in its socket. Otherwise, put it in between your check and gums or soak it in milk to preserve it while you’re on the way to your dentist’s office.
  • For a cracked tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately to clean the area. Then, put a cold compress on your face to prevent swelling while you’re on your way to the dentist.
  • If you bite your tongue or lip, gently clean the area with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or head to the emergency room if you experience excessive bleeding.
  • For a toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water and gently use dental floss to remove any food that may be stuck in between your teeth. Don’t put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums because it may burn the gum tissue. Contact your dentist if the pain persists.
  • If you have an object stuck in your mouth, try to gently remove it with floss. If floss doesn’t do the trick, call your dentist. The worst thing you can do is try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.

To learn more about safely handling dental emergencies visit www.mouthhealthy.org or consult a dentist in your area.

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About the North Carolina Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members.

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