Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dental First Aid

Most people know basic first aid for the usual injuries like bumps and scrapes. But what about dental first aid? Dental emergencies do occur and more often than one would think which is why it pays to know the necessary steps to deal with some of the more common issues.

Bitten Lip or Tongue

The most immediate concern in these cases is to stem the bleeding by applying direct pressure on the injury with a clean cloth. A cold compress will help bring down any swelling if present. If the injury does not stop bleeding within 15 minutes, seek professional medical attention.

Chipped-Off Broken Tooth

Gently clean the injured area with warm water. This will get rid of any dirt that may further irritate or infect the tooth. Minimize the exposure of the damaged tooth to air and cold liquid by covering it with a sterile gauze. Keep any swelling under control by applying a cold compress. If a nerve is exposed, take the patient to a dentist immediately.

Knocked-Out Tooth

Immediately locate the knocked-out (avulsed) tooth. Make sure it hasn't been driven up into soft tissue. Handle the loose tooth by the top portion or crown. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with running water. DO NOT scrub or scrape the tooth or use alcohol to remove dirt. Place the tooth in a cup of milk or if unavailable, a cup of cool water. It is important to take the patient to the dentist within 30 minutes.

Remember that the goal of first aid is to just minimize pain and injury until the patient can be taken to the doctor. These procedures cannot replace proper treatment that only a qualified medical professional can provide.

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