Bumping or hitting a tooth can happen anywhere, especially if you’re involved in sporting activities. From getting knocked in the mouth by a baseball, hitting your knee on the trampoline, or simply having a child bump their head into your mouth, you need to know what to do if a tooth is traumatized.
If visible damage has taken place, such as a fracture, you’ll need to call your dentist immediately. If there is a portion of tooth that has broken off, put it in milk or water and bring it with you to the dental office. Don’t try to wash the tooth off, as this can damage microscopic fibers that may aid in reimplantation. If the tooth is loose or has come out completely, put it back into place and hold it securely until you can get to the dentist.
If you know you hit your tooth, but there doesn’t seem to be anything hurting, loose, or visibly wrong, it may be ok to wait to see your dentist. Some tenderness is to be expected, but pain should not be severe or last very long. However, call your dental office if pain continues, or as soon as any sign of abscess (swollen “pimple” on the gums) or tooth discoloration occurs. These signs may be an indication that nerve damage has taken place and the tooth will need to be treated in a timely manner.
Mouth guards are an excellent way to prevent tooth trauma during athletic activities. Custom made sports mouth guards not only protect the teeth they may also prevent concussions. Ask your dentist about getting a professional guard made for the athlete in your family!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates