Dental injuries are not something most of us consider over the festive period. But did you know you may be at increased risk of experiencing a dental injury at Christmas1?

Dental injury risks

A common injury dentists often see at this time is chipped teeth – whether from falling while riding that new bike or skateboard, or when roller blading. And a game of backyard cricket could also knock a tooth or two out.

Seasonal treats like nuts, toffees, caramels, candy canes and hidden stones in fruit can also chip a tooth or displace a filling or crown.

The list is endless. Prevention is always better than cure so do your best to keep safe with helmets, mouthguards, and watching what you put in your mouth!

But just in case, here are some tips to help you prepare for most dental accidents this festive season.

Saving a knocked out tooth

  1. Find the tooth and be sure to pick it up and hold it by its crown (the area of your tooth that is normally visible). Don’t touch it at the root as you may damage the fibres that help anchor the tooth in your socket.
  2. If the tooth is dirty, try and clean it with milk. Don’t use soap or chemicals, scrub it, dry it or wrap it in a tissue or cloth (this may damage it).
  3. Reposition it in the socket. The sooner you put your tooth back in, the better your chance of saving it. Holding your tooth by its crown, gently and slowly push it back in its socket. Don’t force it, as you could damage your gums or your tooth.
  4. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, don’t stress. Keep it clean and moist by storing it in a glass of milk or in your mouth next to your cheek – just be careful not to swallow it!
  5. Call your dentist straight away, ideally within 30 minutes, and tell them what has happened. They should be able to get you an emergency appointment to try and reinsert your tooth.

Caring for a chipped or broken tooth

  1. Remove the chipped piece of tooth from your mouth - be careful not to swallow it.
  2. Rinse your mouth out with salt water to help prevent infections.
  3. Call your dentist. Let them know what has happened and book an appointment. It’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage or infection.
  4. While waiting for your appointment, if the broken tooth is sharp or has a jagged edge, cover it with a piece of sugar-free chewing gum or dental wax.
  5. If you’re in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever as directed, and use a cold pack to reduce swelling.
  6. Stick to soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth if eating.

Caring for a filling that has come out

  1. Remove the filling from your mouth. If your filling is ceramic or gold, try and save the filling as your dentist may be able to reinsert it.
  2. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible and make sure to take extra care of your teeth - an unfilled tooth is a great place for bacteria to accumulate and cause more damage. Rinsing regularly with salt water can help.
  3. If you’re in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever as directed.

Caring for a crown that has come out

  1. Remove the crown from your mouth and clean it under water with a toothbrush. Dry it and store it somewhere safe.
  2. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Remember to double check our opening hours over the holiday period. And get in touch if you experience any dental mishaps or if you have any questions!

1http://www.ada.org.au/app_cmslib/media/lib/0901/m153672_v1_dental%20dangers%20double%20at%20christmas%20-%20december%202007.pdf