If you had a tooth knocked out, what would you do? I don’t know about you, but after crying in pain and panicking, I’d be pretty lost. Sadly, I’m in good company, as a recent survey by Majestic Drug Company shows that although one in six Americans have had a dental emergency during the past 12 months, most are not prepared to deal with a dental emergency.

So unprepared, that among those who had a dental emergency involving a loose crown/cap or a lost filling, 19% did nothing at the time. (Does crying and panicking count as nothing?)

“You keep medical supplies on hand for cuts and bruises, but what about your teeth?  It’s important to be prepared for a dental emergency in case one happens, especially if  the emergency occurs on a weekend when your dentist just isn’t available or you are on the road and cannot seek immediate dental care,” advises Brian Gold, D.D.S., who practices in Monticello, NY.

So, since no one keeps dental care tools (beyond toothbrushes and floss, I’d imagine) just lying around with their first-aid kit, Majestic offers some quick fixes for common dental 911s:

• Knocked out tooth. If a permanent tooth is dislodged from the socket, try gently replacing it into the tooth socket. Do not scrub the tooth clean—you can damage the fibers needed for reattachment. If that doesn’t work, place the tooth in a glass of milk to keep it moist. Get to a dentist immediately.

• Mouth pain. A throbbing pain from a toothache may indicate an infection and a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible. Tooth sensitivity can be combated by the use of desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne. Irritation from mouth sores can be alleviated by the use of specialized oral pain relief products such as Orajel.

• Lost filling. Rinse out the cavity with warm water. Apply a temporary filling product such as Dentemp® O.S. which can be made into a ball and pressed firmly into the cavity.

• Cracked or broken denture. According to Dr. Gold, all denture wearers should have a spare pair to use until the other is repaired. If not, it is good to keep on hand an emergency denture repair kit such as D.O.C. Emergency Denture Repair Kit, available at your local pharmacy. 

• Dislodged cap/crown. Apply a temporary dental holding product such as Dentemp® O.S. and gently replace the cap onto the tooth.  Make sure you get a proper fit.

• Irritation from braces.  Sharp wires can be coated with special dental wax available at your local pharmacy.

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