Summertime can be one of the most fun and active seasons for your child, but it can also be one of the most dangerous seasons when it comes to dental injuries. It is not uncommon for children to fall off a bike or get injured during a sport and realize they have lost a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Teeth can be saved in most cases when an adult can quickly jump into action. First, though, check two things: make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries that may require an ambulance, and determine if the tooth that was knocked out was a baby tooth or an adult tooth.
If the tooth was a baby tooth, don’t worry about finding the tooth or getting it placed back into the mouth. It is still a good idea to see the dentist to make sure no other damage was done, but it is not vital to save the tooth when an adult tooth will soon be erupting anyway. If, however, it was an adult tooth, there are several things you can do to preserve the tooth and increase the chances of it being successfully replanted into the mouth. Just remember that the faster you locate the tooth and get your child to the dentist, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out:
- Do not let the tooth dry out, and do not soak it in water. If the tooth is dirty, put it in milk immediately.
- Do not scrape or touch the root surface.
- After making sure the tooth is clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place on the way to the dentist. If it cannot be put back into the socket, keep it in a glass of milk to prevent it from drying out.
- Go straight to your True Dental Disocunts dentist or a hospital immediately. During treatment, a dentist will give your child a “splint” to keep the tooth in place while it heals.
It is important to remember that knocked-out teeth can often be prevented by reminding your child to wear a mouth guard during recreational and sporting activities. Teeth are surprisingly easy to damage, so it’s always better to be overly cautious and protect your child’s beautiful smile.
Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing. Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments.
Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists. Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts -plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.
Although no one expects to find themselves in a situation that requires immediate dental treatment, the reality is that mouth-related emergencies are fairly common. Whether it’s a broken tooth, a nagging toothache, or a swollen jaw, you or your children may need an emergency appointment with your dentist. In the time before you get into the office, though, the American Dental Association offers suggestions about how to treat emergencies at home:
- Broken tooth: Rinse mouth with warm water; apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Severely bitten lip or tongue: Gently clean with a cloth; apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the emergency room right away.
- Cracked tooth: Avoid any hot or cold beverages, as the tooth will be extremely sensitive to temperature. Do not chew on that side of the mouth. Call the dentist immediately.
- Broken jaw: Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Go to the dentist or emergency room right away.
- Knocked-out tooth: Gently rinse the tooth in water if it is dirty – do not scrub! If possible, hold the tooth in its socket and drive to the dentist immediately. Otherwise, some experts recommend keeping the tooth in milk until you arrive.
- Toothache: Rinse mouth with warm water; gently floss to remove any pain-causing debris caught between the teeth. If desired, use an over-the-counter pain reliever; however, do NOT apply aspirin directly to the gum, as it may burn the tissue. Call your dentist if the pain does not subside.
- Food or other objects caught between teeth: Gently use floss to remove the offending object. Never use a sharp object or cut your gums. If floss cannot solve the problem, call your dentist.
In all cases, it is best to contact a dentist in the event of a dental emergency. Most dentists, including the ones on your True Dental Discounts plan, set aside time during their day to account for emergencies. When you call, explain your issue as thoroughly as possible so the dentist can be prepared for your arrival. Most of the time, the problem will be easily diagnosed, and the dentist will inform you of any needed follow-up appointments to address the issue. For instance, a nagging toothache may be caused by tooth decay that the dentist can remove and fill.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to not be aware of a cracked tooth in your mouth. Many cracks are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, or sometimes even an X-ray. To determine which tooth is cracked, dentists often ask patients where they are experiencing sensitivity to temperature as well as sticky, sweet, or sour food. They make also ask where the pain is centralized while chewing. According to the American Dental Association, cracked teeth hurt because “the pressure of biting causes the crack to open.” Once that pressure is released, the crack quickly closes, and the person feels a sharp sensation of pain. Even further, cracked teeth can cause the pulp inside the tooth to become irritated or even damaged.
In advanced cases, a dentist may have to perform a root canal to save the tooth. Treatments for cracks range from bonding to complete extraction, depending on the severity of the crack. Teeth can crack for a variety of reasons, including chewing on hard candy, nuts or ice; uneven chewing pressure; grinding of the teeth; and experiencing an accident that involves a hit to the mouth. The American Dental Association suggests that the most important thing to remember is that regular dental checkups help prevent tiny cracks from becoming a large problem. If you experience pain or sensitivity in a tooth, do not continue to chew on that side of your mouth. Call your True Dental Discounts dentist and have him or her identify the source of your pain. Treated early, cracks can be easily repaired without stress to your mouth or your wallet.