Just like a first aid kit, it isn’t a bad idea to have some items on hand for a dental emergency. Many people experience dental emergencies, even those who have excellent oral health. After all, you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with major tooth pain and have no way of taking care of yourself. Here are a few items we recommend keeping on hand in case something happens.
Gloves for Sterile Handling of Tooth
If you have a knocked-out tooth or a tooth that gets out of alignment, it’s important to remember not to touch to tooth. You don’t want to spread bacteria. If you have a tooth knocked out, use gloves to pick the tooth up by the crown (the top part) rather than the root. If you touch the tooth with dirty hands, you risk spreading bacteria to the tooth. This could cause problems with trying to reattach the tooth. Place the tooth either back in the socket (if possible) or in a cup of milk until you can see us.
Similarly, if a tooth gets knocked out of alignment, you don’t want to touch the tooth with bare hands if you can help it. Put on some gloves and gently try to move the tooth back to its original position. Keeping the tooth and mouth area clean and sterile is very important. Even recently washed hands can still have bacteria that will easily spread to the inside of your mouth.
Salt or Kosher Salt
Salt and warm water rinses are one of the best things you can do if you’re having a toothache caused by a cavity, an abscess, or any other type of dental issue. Not only does warm salt water act as a sterilizing agent that can help with infections, but it can also bring some relief from the pain of a toothache. Gargling salt water can even help ease a sore throat! Just remember to use warm water, not cold or hot. Mix with a tablespoon or two of salt for a rinse, swish gently for several seconds, and spit out!
Cold compresses are really useful for bringing down swelling. If you crack or fracture a tooth, you may start swelling up immediately. A cold compress can easily bring down swelling. Just apply the compress to the cheek area over the swelling. Do this a few times an hour, or however often you can handle it. Take an acetaminophen (not aspirin) to alleviate some of the pain, and call our office right away.
Many of the things you need for a dental emergency are usually on hand. Just in case, though, make a separate kit next to your first aid kit so you can easily find the items you need if you have a dental problem. Most importantly, keep our number handy so you can call us right away to schedule an appointment for emergency dental care!