Today’s post is the final article of a series on common dental emergencies and remedies that you can use while waiting to see your dentist.

Facial trauma sustained during falls or accidents can result in soft tissue injuries to the lips and cheek as well as trauma to teeth and its surrounding bony housing. If luck is on your side, minimal damage is done and the affected teeth may just feel tender for a few days. In some cases however teeth can be displaced sideways, pushed in or out, pushed forward or backward, or even be completely knocked of the mouth. Fortunately, there are actually a few things that you can do to increase the likelihood of salvaging the tooth and decreasing your agony while waiting to see your dentist.

If your tooth is knocked out of its original position, you can attempt to gently reposition it back, though it may feel fairly tender when doing so. Rinsing out your mouth with a warm saline mouthwash will usually provide some relief, cleaning out the mouth of any dirt and bacteria at the same time. It is also advisable to hold a cold compress, such as an Ice pack (or simply a bag of frozen peas), against the tender area to help numb the pain, reduce potential swelling and bleeding, while at the same time act as a good distraction from the discomfort while waiting for your turn at the dentist.

If your tooth has been completely knocked out of your mouth, FIND IT! Handle it with extreme care by holding the dislodged tooth by its crown (portion of the tooth which can be seen in the mouth) and rinse it gently with saline, milk or water. DO NOT scrub or attempt to remove any soft tissue that is attached on the root surface. Make an attempt to position the tooth back in its socket but if that is not possible, keep the tooth moist by placing it between your teeth and cheek in your mouth, or simply in milk. Time is of essence when trying to salvage a dislodged tooth so you should get to the nearest dentist as soon as you can, preferably within an hour. Your ability to do the above and gain access to early professional care will increase the likelihood of the tooth being successfully retained.