​​Injur​ies to the teeth can occur from falls, auto accidents, sports activities, or other life events and can damage primary (baby) or permanent teeth. Injuries can result in a tooth that is cracked, chipped partially, or totally detached from its socket. It's even possible to damage permanent teeth that have not grown in yet. Sports are the main source of tooth and mouth injuries in older adolescents and adults, but most are preventable with proper equipment. Be sure to contact your dentist right away if you experience a dental injury.


Sports Injuries

  1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​Mouthguard: A flexible piece of plastic or rubber that protects your teeth and mouth against injury during contact sports. Mouthguards should be durable and fit properly. ​They should not make breathing or speaking hard. Remember to clean it before and after each use with soap and water.
  2. Face cage: Protects against trauma to the face, especially when playing certain sports positions such as catcher in baseball or go​alie in hockey.
  3. Helmet: It's always wise to wear a helmet for sporting activities. Although most helmets won't protect the teeth and mouth, they will protect your head to help protect against a brain concussion.


​Tooth Chips and Fractures

If you chip or break a tooth, rinse your mouth with water to remove any broken pieces. If there is bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep swelling down and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.

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Soft-Tissue Injuries

Injuries to the soft tissues including the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding:​​

  1. ​​​​​​​​Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
  2. ​​Use a moist piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for​​ 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. ​Hold a cold co​​mpress to the outside of the ​mouth or cheek in the af​fected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. ​If the bleeding doesn't stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure to the site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.​

Avulsed Tooth or Teeth

An avulsed tooth is one that has been knocked out. If you have an avulsed tooth:

  1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Pick up the tooth by the top part of the tooth. Do not touch the root of the tooth.
  2. If dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water for no more than 10 seconds. Do not use soap or chemicals. Do not scrub or dry the tooth. Do not wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
  3. If possible, immediately push the ​tooth back into the place it came out. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on a washcloth or gauze until you can get to the dentist. If you can't put the tooth back in, store it in whole milk or between your cheek and gum to keep the tooth moist at all times.
  4. Call your dentist immediately and go to your dental office within 30 minutes of the injury. ​

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Baby, Toddler, or Young Child Gums or Baby Teeth Injuries

  1. ​​​​​Call your dentist.
  2. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a piece of moist gauze.
  3. Hold an icepack wrapped in a washcloth to the cheek or offer an ice pop to suck on to reduce swelling.
  4. ​Check with your dentist or physician before giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
  5. Watch for swelling of the gums, continued pain, a fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.

​​​Broken Braces and Wires

If a wire breaks or sticks out and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can't move the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist's office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.​​