Ask The Dentist: What to do if you knock a tooth in the swimming pool
Dentist Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast offers advice on what to do if you or your child knocks a tooth in the pool this summer
THE excitement is building as the summer holidays are upon us and so too are the chances of some unlucky person misjudging a dive and hitting a tooth off the bottom of a swimming pool. So, what to do if you are faced with this scenario?
This can be a shock especially if it's your child. Try to remain calm, remembering that if a lip is cut then the blood will look worse with all the water.
If a young child has come a cropper then it may be that a baby tooth has been knocked out. Try to locate the tooth in the pool or sometimes it may be buried in the lip. If you find a baby tooth then don't try to put it back as its only adult teeth that should replaced.
When dealing with adult teeth, a part may break off; it may be jolted out of position or the whole tooth knocked out. It's really helpful to the dentist if the piece of the tooth can be found as this will help when rebuilding the tooth.
If the tooth is knocked loose, gently push the tooth back into its original position and bite down on a clean hanky until you see the dentist.
If the whole tooth has been knocked out then time is of the essence – the key is not letting it dry out. Find the tooth and then touch it only by the crown as the root is covered with all the important cells that will help it reattach to the jaw bone. Avoid wiping the tooth.
If you are going to try and replace the tooth then try to get it the right way round. If you don't feel confident doing this, place the tooth into a container that’s filled with the person's saliva; even if there’s a bit of blood in it this won't matter. You can also use milk, or some first aid kits have saline which is better than plain water.
Clean any lip, cheek and tongue injuries with warm water, and press on the wound with gauze to stem the bleeding. It's not unusual for a broken tooth to be painless; it depends on how big the broken bit of the tooth is, and where the fracture line runs.
Apart from painkillers you can also suck on a lollipop to help. Try to see a dentist within an hour to give the tooth the best chance. Happy Holidays!