Most people think of dental health as a long-term situation, with lots of preventative maintenance and regularly scheduled appointments to fill in cavities that managed to develop despite best efforts. However, dental emergencies happen every day. You never know when something might happen at work or home, so knowing how to handle these situations is essential. Dental first aid is designed to familiarize you with the basics of treating minor oral injuries and illnesses. It also provides information on how to recognize common dental emergencies and how to respond appropriately. This article covers the steps needed to properly assess and manage a patient who has suffered from a toothache, mouth injury, bleeding gums, broken or chipped teeth, and other conditions.
Toothaches are painful conditions that can occur anywhere in your mouth. Many things can cause a toothache, including gum disease, tooth decay, injury, infection, or even food allergies. One of the most common causes is a cavity that has become infected. Another cause could be a cracked tooth from excessive pressure or trauma. A third reason could be gum disease. If any of these conditions are left untreated, they can lead to other problems like abscesses, infections, and even death. To treat a toothache, you need to know what type of pain you are experiencing. You should also know how long your toothache has been going on. If you have had a toothache for longer than 24 hours, you should go to the dentist immediately.
- Mouth Injury
Mouth injuries are common among athletes and can occur from contact sports like football, hockey, soccer, etc., or even non-contact sports like tennis, basketball, volleyball, etc. Injuries can happen to any area of your mouth, including teeth, lips, gums, tongue, palate, jaw, cheeks, and throat. Common causes include overuse, improper technique, poor conditioning, lack of proper equipment, and other factors. The first step in treating mouth injuries is to stop the activity that caused them. If possible, take a break from the sport or activity. If this isn’t possible, ice the affected area immediately after the injury occurs. This helps reduce swelling and pain. You should also rinse your mouth out with water frequently.
If the injury has not already occurred, then the best treatment is prevention. To prevent mouth injuries, ensure you’re using good form and technique while performing the activity. Also, wear protective gear like mouth guards, helmets, elbow pads, shin guards, knee pads, etc. These items help protect against injuries.
- Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums are usually caused by gum disease. Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up on teeth over time. This plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gum tissue. Over time, this irritation causes bleeding from the gums. You may notice blood between your teeth while brushing or flossing. If you experience bleeding gums frequently, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.
- Broken or chipped teeth
If you accidentally break or chip a tooth, clean the area thoroughly using warm water and salt. If it’s only a small chip, there’s usually no cause for alarm. Do not use aspirin or other pain relievers unless directed by your dentist. For more information, please refer to our more in-depth article on why you shouldn’t ignore a chipped tooth.
- Tooth knocked out
A tooth knocked out can cause serious injury to your mouth. If you are bleeding from the mouth, you should seek immediate medical attention. It is important to try to keep the tooth moist until you get to a dentist. Replacing it in the socket, holding it between the teeth and gums, or putting it in a glass of milk are all ways to keep it moist until you arrive at the dentist. If you have no pain or discomfort, you can use mouthwash or salt water to clean the mouth and stop the bleeding. You can make an at-home mouthwash using baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water. Mix equal parts of each ingredient and swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
Of course, daily care is critical to decreasing the need for first aid. A good cleaning regimen and regular check-ups go a long way towards long-term dental health. However, accidents will happen, and it is important to know what to do in dental emergencies. Therefore, always consult your dentist for the best care for your mouth and teeth.