(Survival Manual/6. Medical/a) Dental/Home dental kit)
A. Guide to Emergency Dental Kits (Buy as kit or as individual items)
One of the common themes with dental emergencies is that, the quicker you get treatment, the better long-term prospects that treatment will usually have. Therefore, if you have a tooth knocked out, that tooth can often be saved if you get to the dentist quickly enough. Assuming of course, that you have picked up the tooth and brought it with you!
As more and more people are realising the benefits of early treatment, emergency dental repair kits are becoming far more popular. Emergency Dental Kits are a relatively new phenomena. These are kits that you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets and which contain a wide variety of dental treatments for emergency situations.
Essentially, an emergency dental kit will give you the opportunity to effect some preliminary care before going to the dentist. An emergency kit will not give you the materials you need to treat yourself properly. However, it may just mean you can patch yourself up enough to stop the pain, protect your teeth and get professional treatment.
(Internet image above, cover of the book: Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson, 228Pgs. Recommended for reading and inclusion in your library. Amazon.com)
B. What can be treated with a dental repair kit?
A dental repair kit is not intended to be used to perform permanent repairs. The majority of over-the-counter kits will include materials that are lower grade than your dentist would use. Therefore, materials such as dental cements will only stay in place for a short period of time. However, your dental kits can be used effectively for temporary treatment in a number of different scenarios:
Experiencing toothache: you may be suffering from toothache caused by a cavity which you cannot see or reach. Your dental kit will usually include some clove oil and cotton wool. Clove oil contains eugenol, which is a powerful natural pain-killer. Dilute it with some olive oil and soak the cotton wool, then bite down on the cotton wool with your affected tooth. This should help soothe the pain.
• Losing a tooth: your mouth is full of blood vessels so, sometimes, when you lose a tooth the cavity can bleed quite heavily. Your dental repair kit will contain cotton wool balls that you can use to staunch the flow of blood. It may also contain some pain-killing gel that can be used to soothe sore, tender and inflamed gums.
• Losing a filling: we all lose fillings from time to time and a lost fillings can mean that your tooth becomes immediately very sensitive to hot and cold. Some dentists recommend sticking sugar-free gum over the cavity until you can get professional dental treatment. Your dental kit, however, will include dental cement that can be used to cover the cavity. This will also help to stop debris getting trapped in the cavity, irritating the tooth and therefore causing more pain.
• Fracturing a tooth or losing a crown: if the structure of your tooth is weakened by decay, then the tooth can split or crack unexpectedly. This can of course be painful and it requires immediate professional treatment. In your emergency dental kit, you will usually find a temporary crown and dental cement. This crown can be used to cover the broken tooth and protect it from further damage until you can get to your dentist.
• Breaking a denture: many people who wear dentures find that keeping an emergency dental kit handy is useful. Dentures can easily be damaged, cracked or broken and, when this happens, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to have to manage without them. An emergency dental kit will include orthodontic wax that can help to smooth the edges of damaged dentures. You may also be able to use dental cement to make minor, temporary repairs to broken dentures.
C. Make your own dental repair kit
Of course, you do not necessarily have to go out and buy a branded dental repair kit. With a little bit of research, you can learn more about the kinds of products that are useful and put together your own pack. In many ways, spending a bit of time getting to know different items will mean you are more likely to know what to reach for when the pressure is on!
• Clove Oil: Clove oil is used prominently in dental care, in products like mouthwashes and tooth pastes. Clove oil has pain killing properties which help it to soothe tooth aches, inflamed gums and sores such as mouth ulcers. It can also help keep the breath fresh and you can easily buy it in your local chemist or natural health store.
• Dental Floss: Dentists recommend that you floss regularly. Even if you do not, you should still keep some dental floss in the house. It is useful for removing items or debris that become stuck in your teeth.
• Antiseptic mouthwash: There are different types of mouthwash available. However, a mouthwash that contains antiseptic can help to clean blood away from a wound or to wash away debris from a shattered filling, for example.
• Cotton wool: Whether you need to staunch the flow of blood or stop a filling from hurting, the patient often needs to bite down on something. So keep plenty of cotton wool in your kit, as this does the job perfectly.
• Pain Killing gel: There are a number of pain killing gels available on the market under different brand names. These gels are appropriate for a number of different purposes, from soothing teething pain in children to relieving the pain from canker sores in adults. They can also help with pain caused by ill-fitting dentures.
These are the basics of any home dental emergency kit. Of course, there are many more items that you could potentially add to it. However, it is important that you strike the right balance between equipping yourself for emergencies and ensuring that you know when to call your dentist.
D. Commercial Emergency Dental Kit
Amazon.com price: ~$28 with S&H
Dental module supplies and complete instruction manual for treating dental emergencies in the field. Module comes heat sealed in a resealable bag for easy access and storage.
1 Mouth Mirror
1 Dental floss, 12 yd
3 Orasol Packet
1 Clove Oil (Eugenol)
1 Wax Stick
1 DenTemp (Zinc Oxide & Clove Oil)
10 Cotton Pellets
3 Gauze Dressing, 3″x3″, 2’s
1 ActCel Hemostatic Gauze, 2″x2″
5 Cotton Rolls
8 Ibuprofen, 200 mg Tablet
2 Nitrile Gloves, Large
2 Nitrile Gloves, Medium
1 Hazardous Waste Bag
E. Pain Relief for Tooth Aches
• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)The best over-the-counter painkillers for toothache are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is sold under many brand names, but the most common are Advil and Motrin. Dentists often prescribe 800mg Ibuprofen every four (4) to six (6) hours as an alternative to narcotic pain relievers.
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or even aspirin are also pretty good for dental painkiller. However, dental pain often comes from inflammation and pressure on various tissues and nerves of the face. Ibuprofen can be better for dental pain because they are both pain relievers and good anti-inflammatories, vs. Tylenol-acetaminophen, which is only a pain reliever.
• If a cavity is causing your toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water and use a toothpick to remove food from the cavity. Soak a piece of cotton with oil of cloves and pack it into the cavity, but avoid getting any oil on your tongue.
• Tip: “If your pain is from nerve damage and you are getting the spontaneous night pain try sleeping in a sitting position. The nerve and pulp chamber doesn’t get filled with fluid and blood and usually u don’t get that throbbing pain.
• If the pain is from a broken tooth and you have an exposed nerve, if the nerve is still relatively healthy just covering it up will cause a great amount of relief. Take a piece of sugerless chewing gum chewed up and cover the nerve and tooth, it should help alot. I have had patients try it all to cover the nerve, shove cardboard in their tooth, air plane glue trying to seal the tooth, etc. but the sugarless chewing gum is your best temporary solution.”
Tooth Sensitivity and Pain
Pain, especially to cold things, can also be caused by exposed dentine – the inner substance of the tooth, which is covered by enamel. The enamel can get quite thin, especially where the tooth meets the root (at the gumline). The root is covered by a substance called cementum, which is easily worn away. Dentine contains little tunnels (tubules) that link to the nerves on the inside of the tooth, and when dentine is exposed, these nerves are easily stimulated, resulting in pain.
• Desensitizing agents such as Sensodyne work by blocking off the tubules, so that the nerves don’t get stimulated. Sensodyne doesn’t work that well used as a toothpaste. It works a lot better by gently massaging it into the sore spot with a finger. Do NOT rinse it off with water or mouthwash. It may take several weeks before the desired effect is reached. Sensodyne can be used indefinitely. The warning on the US packet not to use Sensodyne for more than a month is a legal requirement, designed so that people won’t put off seeing a dentist when something might be seriously wrong. There are no actual health reasons for not using Sensodyne long-term
• QuickStix Oral Pain Swabs (topical anaesthetic): Contains 20% Benzocaine for maximum pain. Also safe to treat canker sores and sore gums. Using the swab tip, apply a small amount of medication to the affected area including the surrounding gum or oral tissue. Use up to 4 times daily or as directed by a doctor or dentist. Caution: Don’t use this product continuously. Do not use if you have a history of allergy to local anesthetics such as procaine, butacaine, benzocaine, or other “caine” anesthetics.
Please note that such products are meant to be temporary measures – so don’t expect them to last long (4-5 days if you’re VERY lucky).