At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, we hope you never experience a serious dental emergency. It’s critical, however, to know what to do in such a situation. Here is a quiz on dental emergencies and other oral problems.
1. One of the wires on your braces breaks. What do you do?
a. Cut off the loose piece.
b. Put a piece of orthodontic wax on the end if it is irritating your tongue or gums. Schedule an appointment right away with your orthodontist to have it fixed.
c. If the wire has cut your gums, rinse with a solution of salt and water.
Both b and c are correct. If you don’t have a piece of orthodontic wax, you can use a cotton ball to cover the sharp end. If you cut off the loose end of the wire, you risk swallowing it.
2. Your five-year-old falls off his bike, hits his face on the sidewalk, and knocks out a tooth. What do you do before driving immediately to the nearest dental office or ER?
a. Put the tooth back in the socket.
b. If the tooth is dirty, scrub it with a brush.
c. Put the tooth in milk.
Your response depends on whether it is a baby tooth or permanent tooth. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it may be successfully re-implanted if done rapidly.
Make sure you only hold the tooth by the crown; never touch the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently with water being careful not to brush off any tissue attached. It is best to reinsert the tooth into the socket. This may not be possible with younger children.
Because it is critical to keep the tooth from drying out on your way to your dentist or nearest emergency room, you can put the tooth in a cup of milk. Baby teeth should not be reinserted because it can potentially damage the emerging tooth.
3. You lose a filling and the tooth starts hurting. After scheduling an appointment with your Alexandria dentist, what do you do in the meantime?
a. Save the filling.
b. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
c. Put an aspirin on the tooth.
Both a and b are correct. Though your dentist can’t use the same filling to repair the problem, it may reveal useful information about the cause of the separation. Never put an aspirin on a tooth because the acid in it could irritate your gums.
4. One of your teeth suddenly darkens. What are the possible causes?
a. The nerve inside the tooth is damaged.
b. It is a side effect of a medication you are taking.
c. Gum disease.
d. An infection.
The answer is all of the above.
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