Stocking Your Dental First-Aid Kit
We've all come to expect bumps, bruises and cuts when we're out and about, especially when kids are part of the deal. Consequently, many people tote along bandages, ice packs and antiseptics. Some even carry bee sting kits and accidental poisoning remedies.
But what happens if your crown or filling falls out? Or if your child knocks out a permanent tooth or breaks her braces? And what would you do if you got a toothache out in the middle of nowhere?
Dr. Richard Price, spokesman for the American Dental Association, recommends packing along a small dental first-aid kit, which should include:
- clove oil, a natural pain reliever
- a dental mirror (ask your dentist where to pick one up)
- small cotton pellets kept in a zipper-style bag (again, ask your dentist where to get these)
- petroleum jelly
- dental floss
- soft dental wax, carried by drugstores or available from your orthodontist
- your dentist's phone number
- your insurance information
- instructions (below) for temporary dental first aid
If you lose a filling
Pain is the issue here. If you aren't in any pain, simply keep the area clean and see your dentist as soon as you can. If it hurts, take clean tweezers and grab one of the cotton pellets. Dip it in a little bit of clove oil and place it in the tooth. Don't just dab it; put the whole cotton pellet in the tooth and leave it there. This should minimize the pain until you can get to a dentist. Caution: NEVER put an aspirin on your tooth or gum. Aspirin is an acid and can burn the tissue.
If a cap or a crown falls off
Coat the inside of the cap or crown with petroleum jelly and gently place it back on the tooth. See your dentist as soon as you can.
If wires on braces break
There are a few things you can do to minimize the discomfort of orthodontic wire protruding from your teeth. Ideally, cover the sharp end with a small piece of dental wax; orthodontists will provide this material for you. If you don't have any wax, you can use a little chunk of pre-chewed sugarless gum. It's not pretty, but it does the job.
If you knock out a tooth
If it's a baby tooth, don't worry about it. However, if it's a permanent tooth, you should keep the tooth in the mouth, between the cheek and gum, to keep it moist. But if that's not possible, submerge the tooth in a glass of milk.
And no matter where you hold the tooth, get to a dentist as quickly as possible. It's likely the tooth can be saved IF you get to the dentist within 30 minutes of losing the tooth.
If a tooth becomes dislodged or loose
Get to a dentist immediately. Many dentists will make room in their schedule to tend to dental emergencies.
Source - The American Dental Association