CDA Offers Tips to Avoid Dental Emergencies

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How to keep teeth and mouths injury free this summer

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Getting to the dentist as soon as possible is key to saving a knocked out tooth. Often if it’s within half an hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth.

Summer is here, and as parents and children enjoy the recreational sports and activities that typically come with the warm weather, CDA is providing tips to avoid oral injuries and dental emergencies.

Popular summer activities, like swimming, baseball and biking, can increase the potential for injuries to the teeth and mouth. Dental accidents include teeth that have been knocked out (avulsed), broken (fractured), or forced out of position (extruded or luxated).

“These injuries are often painful but can be easily prevented by wearing a mouthguard,” said pediatric dentist and CDA President-Elect Lindsey Robinson, DDS. “To avoid other oral injuries, like a cracked tooth, refrain from chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy.”

If a dental emergency does occur, CDA recommends keeping the following tips in mind:

If a tooth is knocked out, attempt to find the tooth and immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. If found, carefully pick up the tooth by its crown and immerse in milk or a special media called Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution. Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket — this could cause further damage. If milk or solution is not available, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and place in saliva.

“Getting to the dentist as soon as possible is key to saving a knocked out tooth. Often if it’s within half an hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth,” said Robinson.

If a tooth is broken, treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture but the mouth should be rinsed with warm water to clean the area and a cold compress applied to reduce any swelling.

Minor fractures can be smoothed by your dentist, restored with a composite restoration, or simply left alone. Regardless, a fractured tooth should be treated with care for several days. Moderate and severe fractures include damage to the enamel, dentin and/or pulp and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible to determine proper treatment.

For injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, like tears, puncture wounds and lacerations to the cheek, lips or tongue, clean the wound right away and visit an emergency room for necessary suturing or repair. Reduce bleeding from a tongue laceration by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the wounded area.

About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit

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Alicia Malaby
California Dental Association
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