Ready to handle dental emergency?

Little Johnny comes running in from the backyard, his brand-new permanent tooth in his hand. What do you do? Your husband arrives home early from his baseball game, with only a swollen face and a broken tooth to show for his sporting efforts. How do you cope?

You awaken early one morning with a nagging pain that can only signal a toothache – and it promises to get worse as the day goes on. You are planning to leave on vacation soon. Yipes!

Most of us recognize the importance of knowing some first aid procedures for emergency situations. Yet dental emergencies are frequently overlooked, perhaps because they are generally not life-threatening. Of course, that doesn’t make them any less painful, a fact acknowledged by the doctors of The Smile and Implant Center, 837 Kearny Ave. Many people don’t realize that, in each of these dental emergencies, there are simple but effective steps to take which can minimize both the discomfort involved and the chance of lasting damage. And as you might expect, the first step in any dental emergency is not to panic. Try to react as calmly as possible, especially if you’re dealing with a child who may already be frightened.

Each of the emergencies given above requires a specific approach. With little Johnny, for example, speed is essential. If the tooth is dirty, it’s okay to rinse it gently, but don’t scrub it. Try to place the tooth in its socket and hold it there. If that’s not possible, place it in a container of milk or cool water. Go to your dentist right away, preferably within 30 minutes. If you’re quick, there’s a good chance it can be re-implanted. A similar approach is needed when a tooth is broken. Use warm water to gently clean the injured area, and go to the dentist immediately. In addition, cold compresses may be useful to reduce swelling.

Finally, there’s the ominous toothache. It may help to keep irritants away from the tooth. Rinse with warm water, and use dental floss to remove any food trapped in the area. Do not use heat; cold compresses on the outside of the cheek may reduce swelling. And never place aspirin on or near the aching tooth, as some folk remedies suggest. That does much more harm than good. Again, see your dentist as soon as possible.

The Smile and Implant Center in Kearny welcomes new patients on an emergency basis or otherwise. Emergency patients are seen the same day. For more information or a complimentary consultation, call 201-991-1055 or visit their website at www.TheSmileandImplantCenter.com to learn more about The Smile and Implant Center and the unique services they offer to their patients.

The Observer Staff