Dental benefits

Mouth emergency preparedness

With all the summer activities you may be enjoying, make sure you know what to do in case of a common dental emergency.

Speak to your dentist during your next appointment to make a preemptive plan about where to go. Many dentists provide room in their schedules during the day to accommodate emergency patients. If yours is not available to address an issue when you call, your dental office may be able to refer you to another dentist.

If something happens at night or on the weekend, you have a couple of options. Your dentist should have an after-hours line to call. Ask for the number during your next appointment and write it down in a convenient location. Depending on your emergency, urgent care or the emergency room may be the best option. Doctors at these facilities can’t provide permanent dental repair, but they can help manage the pain. Your dental benefits won’t apply, so check your medical plan for emergency coverage.

Check out some of the most common mouth emergencies and tips for handling them:

Toothaches can usually be addressed at home with a pain reliever and a cold compress followed by a visit to your dentist.

• Treat bitten tongues and lips by washing the area gently and applying a cold compress. If the wound doesn’t stop bleeding, go to the nearest urgent care or emergency room.

• If a permanent tooth is knocked out, visit your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, take immediate steps to preserve the tooth. Avoid touching the tooth’s root. Gently rinse it with milk or water without scrubbing off any remaining tissue. Try to place it back in the socket and hold it in place. If you can’t, put the tooth in milk or water. By visiting the dentist right away, you may be able to save the tooth.

• If a child’s baby tooth is knocked out, apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding. It will not need to be preserved like a permanent tooth, so don’t try to put it back in the socket. You may harm the permanent tooth growing beneath it and your child could swallow it.

By planning now, you can feel confident in your ability to handle any mouth emergency that comes your way.

Create an emergency dental kit

Keep it with you in the car or while on vacation.

• A small container with a sealable lid

• Your dentist’s contact information

• Gauze and bandages

• A cloth

• Dental wax for kids with braces

• Temporary filling material

• Pain reliever