Facial injuries can range from facial cuts and lacerations to more serious problems such as broken teeth and fractured facial bones, including those of the lower jaw, upper jaw, palate, cheekbones, and eye sockets. These injuries can affect sight and the ability to breathe, speak, and swallow. Left untreated, the trauma from facial injuries can sometimes leave lasting physical and emotional problems.
A knocked out tooth or bitten tongue can cause panic in any parent, but quick thinking and staying calm are the best ways to approach such common dental emergencies and prevent additional unnecessary damage and costly dental restoration. This includes taking measures such as application of cold compresses to reduce swelling, and of course, contacting your dentist as soon as possible.
Following are some tips for dealing with some of the common types of emergencies.
Prevention and first aid
Broken, fractured, displaced tooth
A broken, fractured or displaced tooth is usually not a cause for alarm, as long as decisive, quick action is taken.
If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see your dentist.
First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the check near the injury. This will keep down swelling.
If you cannot locate the tooth back in its socket, hold the dislocated tooth by the crown – not the root. Next, place it in a container of warm milk, saline or the victim’s own saliva and keep it in the solution until you arrive at the emergency room or dentist’s office.
For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.
If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.
If a child’s primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.
Call our office immediately if you have had an injury to your jaw or face and you experience a severe headache or neck ache, facial swelling, locked or hard-to-open jaw, or your teeth do not fit together like they used to.