Dental Accidents (And What to Do If It Happens to You)

Have you noticed how most athletes (boxers, football players, etc.) wear mouthguards for every game? This protective gear helps prevent jaw and tooth injuries. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists highly recommends wearing one when engaging in physical sports like boxing, basketball, football, wrestling and other similar activities. Think of it as armor and a cushion for your teeth, protecting them from an incoming ball, another object or a person.

However, mouthguards are not your typical fashion accessory that you can always wear to school, the office or party. Unprotected, your teeth are at risk of injury at any moment notice. That could be broken, loosened or knocked out at the point of impact.

Accidents happen. But what you do afterward is what really matters. If you slip on the floor, fall off a bike or bump the wall and hit your mouth, chances are you could injure your jaw and teeth. Here are a couple of tips on dealing with the unfortunate event.

If your tooth broke, was chipped or loosened, put an ice pack on the injured area. Save the chipped tooth fragment for possible reattachment, or gently attempt to push a loosened tooth back into its socket, if feasible.

If you knocked out your tooth, seek professional help immediately. Timely dental attention could greatly improve your tooth's chances for reattachment. Still, you can attempt to restore it in its socket until professional help arrives. If not possible, place the tooth in your mouth (saliva helps), in a glass of milk or in sterile saline solutionbut never in water.

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