There are several areas where a little bit on knowledge about the steps to take in an emergency situation can potentially save your life, and your health and well being as well. One area in particular where understanding of an emergency is especially helpful is in the case of a dental emergency. The knowledge of how to assess the situation appropriately and take specific steps can not only save your life, but might in fact save your teeth. Blunt force trauma to the mouth is more common than you might expect, as trip and falls, altercations and accidents can all cause something to strike your mouth in a way that causes the teeth to cut the insides of the mouth, tongue or gums. Additionally, teeth may be knocked loose or completely free from the body when these occurrences happen useful reference.
The most important thing you can do if you have been struck in the mouth and have sustained an injury is to assess if you are bleeding heavily or not. In a case where a large amount of blood is being lost, immediately go to the closest emergency room no matter if teeth are knocked out or not. Your local dentist is not equipped to deal with large amounts of blood loss, which can be deadly. In the event where a patient is losing blood quickly, the incorrect assessment of going to the dentist instead of the emergency room can cost precious minutes that can save a life. There are no exceptions to this rule, if you are losing blood, go to the emergency room.
If you have had damage to the teeth or gums and are not bleeding profusely, it may be better to go to the dentist as soon as possible to see if the damage can be corrected. This is especially important in cases where teeth are knocked loose or free from the body, because there are some circumstances where the teeth can be re-implanted successfully as long as they have been prepared and preserved appropriately. If your tooth or teeth have been knocked out, place the tooth into a cup filled with cold milk if possible. If there is no milk available, utilize any non-acidic liquid like water or even saliva if nothing else is available. This will give the tooth a potential for survival when it is re-implanted into your jaw. If any other damage has occurred to the inside of your mouth, assess if blood is being lost. If there is only minor bleeding and potential damage to the teeth or gums, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Many people keep emergency addresses and phone numbers on their person in the case of a problem. Remember that your dentist will not be keeping hours that are the same as an emergency room, so it is always best to ask during your next appointment what hours they keep in case of an emergency, and if they take emergencies at all. Call the dentist in the case of an emergency and make sure they are available for you to come in. If there are any issues with taking an emergency, head directly to the nearest hospital.