He never saw it coming. Your son was standing to the sidelines when the basketball hit him directly in the mouth.
He’s bleeding a little bit, but he doesn’t act like he’s in any pain (for now).
You thought you saw something go flying after the impact, and when you get to him, you see what it was. One of your son’s front teeth is on the ground.
What will you do? More important, what should you do?
If you are in or near Billings, MT, you should call Legacy Smiles at (406) 794-3114 as soon as possible.
Even if your emergency occurs outside our regular hours, you will find directions on how to reach someone on our staff, and we will do everything we can to schedule a meeting with our dentist, Dr. Stuart, as soon as possible.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions on how to handle three common dental emergencies, including the example we described above.
► The Tooth Is Loose
Getting hit in the mouth with a basketball is just one of many ways you or someone you love could have a tooth knocked out. If that does happen, you will want to know what to do.
First, find the tooth. If you can find it, we may be able to re-place it where it goes.
Be sure to pick up your tooth by the crown. The crown is the part that is visible when open your mouth or smile.
Do not touch the root. The root is the part that looks like two prongs.
Rinse any dirt off the tooth. You want to remove as much dirt as possible. You also should rinse your mouth with warm water.
Try placing the tooth back in its socket. If it won’t stay, then keep it in a container of milk until you are able to meet with our dentist in person.
This is also a good time to remind you that wearing a mouthguard during sporting events may help prevent this kind of dental emergency from happening
► A Tooth Is Broken
Getting hit it the mouth might knock your tooth out, or it might cause your tooth to chip or break.
If this happens, you will need to follow similar steps to the ones that we described above.
First, find the piece(s) of your tooth, if possible. Next, rinse them off, and rinse your mouth, too.
Then, place the piece(s) in a container of milk until you are able to see the dentist.
With a chipped or broken tooth, you also need to be aware that your tooth could have a point or a sharp edge because of the break.
You should cover the broken tooth with wax or gauze. You don’t want to make the problem worse by accidentally cutting your lips, gums, or tongue.
Again, this is a good reason to wear an athletic mouthguard when you are participating in any high-impact sport. This is true whether you’re in high school or an adult playing in a recreational league.
► Your Tooth Is Aching
A toothache should never be ignored.
The first thing to try is flossing. It’s possible that you might have a piece of food caught in between your teeth or in your gums. Flossing may be enough to get it out.
If that doesn’t help, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. You also may want to apply ice or a cold compress near the aching tooth reduce your pain.
You should NOT place aspirin on your gums near the aching tooth, however. Aspirin can burn your gum tissue, which will only make you problem worse.
The best way to prevent this kind of emergency is with good oral hygiene and routine dental care.
According to the American Dental Association, everyone should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. This means scrubbing your teeth on all sides with a fluoride toothpaste or a soft-bristled toothbrush.
You also need to floss between your teeth and gums at least once a day. This removes bacteria and plaque that you can’t remove with brushing alone.
Last, but not least, you need to come to Legacy Smiles for routine dental care. During our professional cleaning, we will examine your mouth for signs of problems. Early detection can save you from needing emergency care later.
If you are having an emergency, you need to call us as soon as possible at (406) 794-3114.
If you want to take preventive steps to reduce your risk of have a dental emergency, call or use our online form to schedule an appointment at our dentist office in Billings, MT.