An injury to the front teeth can be traumatic. They are commonly caused by an accident, fall, being hit in the face, a sports injury or eating something hard. The treatment will depend on the type of injury which needs to be evaluated by a dentist. Chipped teeth are the most common and minor injury, but even these can be accompanied by unnoticed injuries to surrounding teeth.
Three things to do
1. Act quickly
The quicker you act the better chances you have of saving your tooth. Do not put off seeing a dentist, even if it is the weekend.
Injuries can include a loose tooth, a crack or break, damage to the roots or even the loss of a tooth.
Quick action can save a tooth. Choosing not to act could result in the tooth dying and needing to be pulled.
2. Use milk
If one of your front teeth falls out, and it is a permanent adult tooth, don’t throw it away. Instead, keep it! Call for an emergency appointment and handle the tooth with care. Do not rinse it with water or put it in water. Instead rinse and/or store it in milk, saliva or a sterile saline solution. If a tooth starts to dry out, the cells begin to die.
Optimally put the tooth back where it belongs. If you are able, push the tooth gently back into the socket until it is level. Bite down on a clean cloth as you make your way to the emergency appointment.
Pieces of a broken tooth can also be stored in milk, saliva or a sterile saline solution.
3. Use pressure and ice
If your mouth is bleeding because of the injury, use a clean cloth to apply pressure to the area. Keep it in place for 15 minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Repeat the process until you arrive at the emergency dental appointment.
Sometimes swelling can occur. If this happens, use a cold compress or ice. Create a barrier between the cold and your skin with a clean cloth and gently press the cold against your face to reduce the pain and the swelling.
What could happen
If action is not taken immediately, an emergency dental appointment is not made, the injured tooth dries out or the break goes too far into the actual root, then the tooth may begin to die. When this happens there are options.
The front injured tooth may need to be strengthened with a crown, corrected with a veneer or removed and replaced with a bridge or implant.
If the tooth is saved it is important to keep an eye on it. Dental examinations every year and an X-ray every two years are necessary to monitor the injured front tooth.
Your smile is important. Your front teeth make up a big part of that smile. An injury can wreak havoc on the health of your mouth, your confidence and your willingness to show the world your pearly whites. Don’t let a small injury escalate. Make sure to treat an injury as soon as it occurs.
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