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Knowing basic first aid is a good idea for everyone in case of an accident, but do you know what to do during a dental emergency? Understanding the right steps to take if your teeth are damaged can help you save a tooth that would be otherwise lost.

An ounce of prevention

The best way to solve dental emergencies is to take precautions against having them happen whenever possible. Follow common sense guidelines to protect your teeth, and refrain from doing things like:

  • Chewing hard candies, popcorn kernels, ice cubes, and other very hard objects
  • Using your teeth to tear or cut things like fabric, clothing tags and plastic

You should also wear a mouthguard whenever you’re engaged in physically taxing sports or other recreational activities.

What to do if your teeth are damaged

The following are common dental emergencies, and what you should do if they happen.

  • Toothaches: Try rinsing with warm water, and remove anything that may be caught between your teeth with dental floss. If you have something caught in your teeth and floss doesn’t remove it, don’t use a sharp object. Avoid placing aspirin directly on the tooth or gums.
  • Cracked tooth: Rinse immediately with warm water. You can use cold compresses on your face over the affected area to keep swelling down until you’re able to see a dentist.
  • Knocked-out tooth (adult or permanent): Start by keeping the tooth moist, either in your mouth or by placing in milk. If possible, put the tooth back in place in the socket or put it between your cheek and gums to keep it moist with saliva. See your dentist as soon as possible about the possibility of saving the tooth.

With all tooth emergencies, it’s important to get to a Tinley Park dentist or a local emergency room at the earliest possible time.

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