Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – A Summer break is great – but what to do when your “break” goes bad?

It’s Loris, your friendly Brampton Brinkley Blogger! We’ve had some fun this summer talking about teeth and all the wonderful things we can do to take care of them while still enjoying some great summer “downtime.” A break is very often a great thing but today we wanted to briefly discuss what to do when a “break” is not so good. In other words, we’ll look at what to do in a dental emergency such as when your summertime festivities have resulted in a broken or chipped tooth.

Way before I had determined my future career path I recall being at a party where a little one just learning to walk fell forward and hit his mouth on a wooden chair. In the immediate “kerfuffle” around calming him down and attempting to assess the damage (where it was determined he had indeed lost a tooth) someone shouted out “get a glass of milk.” What? The person sounded authoritative and proclaimed that getting the tooth into a glass of milk would help preserve it until dental help was available. True or not true? If you answered “True,” you are in fact correct – but it is a time sensitive answer!

As I later learned, should you find yourself with a knocked out tooth there are several things you can do immediately to improve the chances of having that tooth successfully replaced. If the tooth has broken cleanly and there is no excessive damage or dirt and debris – replace it in the socket and head straight to a Dentist office. As for the milk, if you can’t immediately or easily replace the tooth and/or you’re concerned you may accidentally swallow the tooth, place it in a container of cold milk and head to the Dentist asap! The truth is, you have about ten minutes or so to get that tooth back in place for optimal chances of it taking root again but it’s still worth the attempt. (For the record, two hours or more and the chances significantly decrease.)

Knowing that you have potentially such a short amount of time to have dental emergencies treated, I often wonder why we know where our local hospital is but not our local emergency dental clinic. Poison control and Telehealth are on speed dial – why not where to go in a dental emergency? I highly recommend you take the time now to update your contacts list with where to get treatment in a hurry. Certainly the team here at Brinkley Dental has extensive and varied office hours to accommodate a wide variety of schedules but make a note of where emergency dental care is available in your community too. Keep that number handy along with all of your other “Important” numbers. Seriously, do it now – while it’s still fresh in your mind!

Chipped or broken teeth can also, almost always be repaired. Call Brinkley Dental, or your local dental office, as soon as the incident occurs and explain your situation. You should be able to be seen very quickly and the sooner you are, the better your chances of a repair. You might be able to have something as simple as white filling material to fix the tooth. More extensive damage may mean a root canal or crown. Regardless of the extent of the damage from minor to major, a Dentist can almost always repair it.

Finally, before we leave you, here is what to do if you have a toothache and you’re stuck on a boat up in cottage country. DON’T jump overboard! You might feel like it for sure but the best thing to do is take an over the counter medication that you are comfortable using and put an ice pack on the area of your face where the sore tooth is. Call a Dentist, explain your situation and chances are, he or she will fit you in for a quick assessment. The most important thing to remember here is NEVER use a hot pack. Any source of heat will almost certainly make things worse not better. So actually, come to think of it, if the lake is cold maybe you should jump in!

Dental emergencies are never fun for the patient but by being a little proactive, having emergency numbers handy and knowing how to react in an emergency, we can try to make it as pain free a process as possible. Let’s hope your summer is only about a break in your schedule and not a break in your mouth! In the meantime, as always, we invite you to call or visit us anytime and remind you ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”