March is National Facial Protection Awareness Month

Every year thousands of teenagers are injured on the court, field,  or while riding their bike or skateboard. Trauma to the face in nearly every instance can injure their teeth, lips, cheeks or tongue. With spring steadily approaching, outdoor activities and the possible risk of injury increases and so should your awareness of how to handle a dental emergency. Here are some helpful tips to help prepare you for those unfortunate instances.

Knocked-out Tooth: First and foremost try to stay calm and find the tooth! This may not be as simple as you expect especially if the injury occurred on a play ground or grassy field. Once located hold the tooth by the crown (top) portion and promptly rinse the root in water. DO NOT SCRUB! You do not want to remove any of the attached ligament tissue. Next, if at all possible, gently reinsert and hold the tooth in the socket while you immediately head to the dentist. If reinsertion is impossible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it with you to the dentist. Time is extremely important for successful re-implantation, so try to get to your dentist immediately. Even with following these steps, re-implantation fails, there are other options for tooth replacement such as a removable partial or dental implant restoration.

Broken Tooth: Immediately rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the wound and clean out any residual pieces of filling, crown or tooth material. Contact your dentist immediately to have the tooth evaluated for restorative options such as a crown or, in worst cases, immediate extraction. The sooner you see your dentist the better. Even if the tooth is not bothersome at the time, a broken tooth is extremely susceptible for infections, abscessing, breaking more, or causing trauma to the tongue.

Knowing what to do can save a tooth that otherwise would be lost.