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Are you prepared for a dental emergency?

Thousands of dental emergencies - from injuries to a painful, abcessed tooth- take place every day. Would you know what to do if your child broke a tooth or had a tooth knocked out while playing outdoors? What if you had a bad toothache in the middle of the night and couldn't get to the dentist until the next day? Knowing what to do can lessen the pain and save a tooth that might be otherwise be lost.

Toothache: Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth. This can burn the gum tissue. If the toothache persists, try to see your dentist. Don't rely on painkillers. They may temporarily relieve pain but your dentist should evaluate the condition.

Knocked- out Tooth: Try to find the tooth! This may not be as easy as you think if the injury took place on a playground, basketball court or skateboarding, so try to stay calm. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water if the tooth is dirty. Don't scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If it is possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in the socket while you head to the dentist or emergency room. It that is not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful reimplantation, so try to get to your dentist or emergency room immediately!

Broken Tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to reduce any swelling.

Tongue or lip bites or wounds: Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding can't be controlled, go to a emergency room. You may be able to reduce bleeding from the tongue by pulling it forward and using gauze to put pressure on the wound.