What to Know: Just in Case of a Dental Emergency This Summer

The season of play is in full swing and we’re all in the spirit! Have you spent a little time on the field yet? Is your team already hitting its stride? You have every reason to get out and get moving this season! Just make sure that you’re armed with the right knowledge and equipment just in case there is a dental emergency while you’re out and about during these summer months. Here are a few tips to help just in case there is a dental emergency this summer.

A Note for Parents: Tooth Emergencies and Your Kids

Accidents happen, and that can be especially scary when you’ve been having a great day with your little ones and then something unexpected happens. We know that not all boo-boos are created equal, and when it comes to your child’s teeth, it’s important to be mindful not just of the teeth that they’ve got right now, but also the teeth that they are growing for the future.

One question that comes up from time to time is, “if my kid knocks out a baby tooth, does it matter?” The answer is yes! Trauma that happens to a child’s baby tooth may negatively impact the tooth bud (for the permanent tooth that will come in later) that is growing just below the root of the baby tooth. It’s important that if your child has an accident that involves injury to the teeth (a full knock-out, a partial knock-out, or trauma to the gums) that they be seen by their dentist right away. X-rays or other radiographic imaging will be used to determine the damage and find solutions to stabilize current teeth and assure that future teeth grow properly.

Has your child lost a tooth during play? Locate the tooth and put it in a little milk, then head to your dentist or the emergency room. It’s possible to save a tooth that has been dislodged if help is sought right away!

Emergency Tooth Care for Grown-ups

We know that play isn’t just for kids, especially during these active summer months. We wrote already about the importance of mouth guards for teens and adults who play high-impact sport. Most likely, if you are careful and you wear the proper equipment, you will be fine as you play. However, accidents can happen even under ideal circumstances. Here are some things to know should an emergency arise.

When thinking of dental emergencies for adults, there are a few areas of concern. Fracture of the jaw or cheek bone add to the more common concerns about trauma to the teeth and gums. Jaw fractures should be addressed urgently at an emergency room because of specific concern for breathing and swallowing. An Ear/Nose/Throat specialist may need to be consulted for care depending on the degree of the injury

For the teeth, seeking professional help via an emergency room or a local dentist is essential. Examination using X-ray and possibly 3D imaging will allow a professional to determine the amount of damage done to the external and internal structure of the tooth (including the root). A partially knocked out tooth can be professionally stabilized with orthodontic wire, and even a fully knocked out tooth may be able to be placed back in its socket and held in place using that technique.

In cases of severe tooth injury, a damaged root may require a root canal for proper healing. Tooth extraction is also a possible solution, which would require bone grafting and treatment so that an implant can be placed at a later time.

Even something considerably “minor” like a chipped tooth should be seen by a medical professional to assure the structure of the tooth in question is indeed intact.

A Little Food for Thought:

The bottom line is, if you have been playing hard and haven’t been using a mouth guard, you may want to rethink and resolve to make a change. Healing from a mouth injury takes time to heal (sometimes weeks and months), and requires a few visits with a dental professional. The more time with us, the less time you’re outside having fun!

The cost is something to consider, too. If you have medical insurance, it should cover some of the cost of an emergency room visit. Dental insurance should cover some of the cost of an emergency visit and some of the subsequent treatments as well. Still, in comparison to what even a higher-end mouth guard would cost, the mouth guard is a much more prudent and practical alternative!

Summer should mean fun, active, nonstop play. No matter if you’re a little kid or a grown adult, trauma to the mouth is no fun and can be prevented. Consider adding tea bags to your first-aid kit (a wet tea bag can be soothing to the gums), don’t forget to put your dental office phone number into your phone, and deeply consider getting a mouth guard if you or your child regularly play high-impact sports. A little bit of planning now can go a long way in protecting your teeth and gums this summer!

Want to learn more about how an endodontist can save your teeth after a dental trauma? Looking for a specialist after seeing your primary care dentist recently? Fill out our contact form! We’d be delighted to speak with you!