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First Aid for Dental Trauma

Dental trauma

Table of Contents

Any form of dental trauma – such as tooth injuries or gum damage – can be potentially very serious, and should not be ignored. Untreated dental trauma can increase the risk of permanent damage and later will require more extensive and expensive treatment.

So lets take a moment to talk about what dental trauma is, and what we can do about it.

What is Dental Trauma?

Dental trauma refers to any mouth-related injury, including damage to the lips, tongue, gums, teeth, and jawbones.

Dental injuries and soft tissue damage to the mouth are typically very painful and should receive prompt first aid treatment.

The common cause of these traumatic dental injuries is unintentional injuries and accidents, including falls, vehicular accidents, and clashes from close-contact sports. Some may even occur due to violent incidents such as fighting and physical abuse.

Sustaining any form of dental injuries will require advice from a dentist or healthcare professional. For any fractured tooth, bring it along to see if there is a possibility of putting it back.

The first aid steps you take after a dental trauma will depend on the type and extent of the damage. However, the general rule in these types of injuries is to control any bleeding and seek professional help immediately.

3 Common Dental Injuries

Here are some of the common dental injuries or trauma.

Chipped or Fractured Teeth – These occur where a part of the tooth has been broken but is still firmly rooted in the person’s mouth.

Dislocated or Luxated Teeth – A type of dislocation where a hard impact causes the tooth to move abnormally in the socket.

Knocked out or Avulsed Teeth – At this point, no part of the tooth remains in the mouth. There is a noticeable wide gap where the tooth is previously located.

Providing first aid care and seeking immediate treatment certainly increases the chances of saving a traumatized tooth.

First Aid Treatment for Dental Emergencies

Dental trauma are common, especially for children. These injuries can range from minor chipping to avulsed or knocked-out teeth. Take note that both permanent and baby teeth can suffer from trauma.

When providing dental first aid to children and even adults, the goal is to prevent no additional harm to permanent teeth and the whole mouth area.

Here are steps to follow in a dental emergency.

Remain calm

The responder’s way of handling injury and trauma will affect the victim’s ability to cooperate. All incidents must be handled in a calm and quiet manner to avoid causing panic to the victim, leading to further trauma.

Providing first aid treatment will be made easy if both the victim and responder remain calm. In all cases, never leave them unattended.

Survey the scene

Ensure the environment is safe before approaching the victim to avoid others being injured (yourself included). Ask bystanders in the area to clear nearby surroundings to provide space and avoid slowing the progress of giving care.

If the scene remains unsafe to provide first aid treatment, the best step is to call 000 or local emergency medical services for assistance.

Provide first aid care

If the injury appears to be life-threatening, perform the DRSABCD while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

The DRSABCD 

The DRSABCD mnemonic stands for

D – Danger: Ensure the area is safe for the victim, yourself, and others

R – Response: Check for the victim’s response. Give a tap or squeeze over their shoulders, ask questions, or touch their hands. If there is no response, send for help.

S – Send for help: Call 000 or other bystanders to make the call.

A – Airway: Open the victim’s mouth and check the airway for any foreign material causing blockage.

If foreign material is seen, place the person in the recovery position and attempt to dislodge the blockage. Open the airway by tilting the person’s head back with a slight lift in the chin.

B – Breathing:  Look for any signs of breathing – look, listen, and feel for about 10 seconds. For non-breathing victims, call an ambulance and proceed with CPR.

For conscious and breathing patients, place them in the recovery position and monitor their breathing.

C – CPR: Perform CPR in the ratio of 30 chest thrusts: 2 breaths. Continue performance of resuscitation until help arrives or the victim starts breathing.

D – Defibrillation: For unconscious and non-breathing victims, use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The device is now available in many public places, including schools, hospitals, malls, etc.

Learn First Aid

The teeth can be cracked, chipped, or suffer from serious dental trauma from accidents and injuries. With no immediate treatment, it can result in long term damage and a wide range of complications.

Learn first aid to know the proper steps to respond to dental emergencies effectively.

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