Any dental emergency, like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment down the road.
1. Home exam
_A. Mouth Check
For many… pain was the major telltale sign that a dental appointment was needed. Bleeding gums were not a significant warning, because some people just didn’t know if they had cut their gums a little or what. Now, with the help of computers, we will be able to show you some of the warning signs, you, yourself, can see. Education is your best ally so you will easily know what you’re looking for. All you have to do, from time to time, is to take a look at our page and call a dentist when you see you’re having a problem.
Images above, L>R: L) Swollen gums, C) Cavities, R) Plaque and Tartar
If you see or think you see any of these conditions in your mouth or your child’s mouth, you will be smart by quickly making a dental appointment. Of course, prevention is always better than cure. If you know you have a condition that a dentist should treat, the sooner the better is always the best way to go.
_B. Giving Plaque the Brush-Off
In order to prevent cavities, you first need to remove plaque, the transparent layer of bacteria that coats the teeth. The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Brushing also stimulates the gums, which helps to keep them healthy and prevent gum disease. Brushing and flossing are the most important things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Toothpastes contain abrasives, detergents, and foaming agents. Fluoride, the most common active ingredient in toothpaste, is what prevents cavities. So you should always be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. If you have teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, you may want to try a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
_C. Cleaning Tartar from your teeth
About 1 person in 10 has a tendency to accumulate tartar quickly. Tartar is plaque in a hardened form that is more damaging and difficult to remove. Using anti-tartar toothpastes and mouthwashes, as well as spending extra time brushing the teeth near the salivary glands (the inside of the lower front teeth and the outside of the upper back teeth) may slow the development of new tartar.
- Buy an antiseptic oral cleanser to help clean the tartar deposited from your teeth. Gargle with this liquid every day, which will loosen the tartar from the edges of the gums. People should make it a habit to rinse their mouth with oral cleanser after each meal. This will remove the food particles which get stuck in the mouth after eating food.
- After rinsing the mouth with an oral cleanser, floss your teeth.
It’s important to know the correct manner of flossing the teeth otherwise you can hurt your gums. People should floss their teeth thoroughly upwards and downwards. [I could never get my fingers in my mouth just the right way to work the string version of dental floss, so I use the dental floss picks shown at right. This brand has 90 picks per pouch which cost about $3.50 at Wal-Mart.]
- If you eat lots of spicy foods, you’ll find it easier to remove tartar from your teeth. Spicy foods increase the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is very important to drain out those food particles which get stuck between teeth.
- Rubbing your teeth with a mixture of salt and baking soda is very effective for removing tartar.
Mix a small quantity of salt in baking soda and apply with a finger. The best thing about this method is that you can get instant results from it. It is one of the most effective home remedies for teeth tartar removal
2. Homemade tooth paste recipes
a) Mix equal parts of baking soda and salt. The result tastes like dirt, but it does a decent job of cleaning your teeth and gums.
Simply moisten the toothbrush, dip it into the mixture and brush as usual.
Recipe from the book, Dirt Cheap Survival retreat by M.D. Creekmore.
b) Two more recipes for homemade toothpaste
Homemade Orange Toothpaste Recipe
1 tablespoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon glycerin or 1- 1/2 tablespoon of peroxide
1 teaspoon orange extract or ½ teaspoon dried orange*
Homemade Vanilla Toothpaste Recipe
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons water, or peroxide to be added if desired
These store well in empty baby food jars.
*Place some grated orange rind in a blender and grind until it is fine and powdery.
or you could even use mint leaves if you like it minty. Pretty much any kind of good tasting essential oils can be used as flavoring, just a couple drops though. Easy does it.
NOTE: This is from the back of the ‘Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste tube’.
Active Ingredients: Sodium fluoride (0.24%) for anticavity.
Inactive Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate, water, glycerin, sodium saccharin, PEG 8, flavor, cellulose gum, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
You see the only things missing from the homemade toothpaste are:
1) fluoride (which is bad for your bones),
2) lauryl sulfate (Google it. It is found contributing to the cause cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, it is not good for us in any form), and
3) saccharine (which is sugar), rubbing sugar on your teeth?
Go with homemade and avoid all the other garbage. Don’t take your health, including your dental health lightly.
3. Summary of what to do for some common dental problems
First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. See your dentist as soon as possible.
Tooth pain is one of the most painful types of discomforts known to man. Unlike other types of pain, that can be relieved with a temporary remedy, in most cases, tooth pain is something entirely different as it throbs consistently, is sensitive to hot or cold, or both and because you have to eat so you’re constantly irritating the painful area three times per day.
When you first experience tooth pain, your first instinct might be that you have food in between your teeth. If the pain is affecting your gums more than the tooth, then that is exactly what the pain will feel like. Around the infected area, check for any food that is stuck in small spaces. Do not try to aggravate the area by overly brushing or flossing, but gently use the brush or floss to get the food out.
1. If you are able to stand warm liquid on the tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to help remove excess food. The wonderful benefit of warm salt water is that it can be done as often as you need to and it helps treat your gums.
2. There are a number of ways to treat tooth pain that may or may not provide you with temporary relief. The most common ways of treating it is taking an anti-inflammatory drug, such as Advil, which
can be bought at most any store over the counter. This will help the pain and also help to ease the swelling and inflammation in the surrounding area. However, it’s still only a temporary relief.
3. An ancient home remedy that might be very effective for your mouth pain is to use clove oil. Soak a cotton ball in the clove oil and then apply it directly to the tooth that is giving you trouble. Clove oil has many soothing benefits, with the addition of infection fighting ingredients that can help relieve the pain and treat the area at the same time. If your tooth has a negative reaction to the clove oil and it causes the area to hurt worse, then rinse immediately with warm salt water. [Clove oil and q-tips should be maintained as part of your emergency medical supply kit. Mr. Larry]
Regardless of what type of temporary treatment you choose, it is still crucial that you visit the dentist as soon as possible. Even if you are able to find a home remedy that relieves the pain, there could still be a serious problem with your tooth that will need to be treated appropriately. Make sure that you inform the dentist of any pain relieving methods that you tried at home.
_B. Toothache remedies that you can easily find
- A clove of garlic is good. Garlic is a natural anti-biotic. It attacks bacteria and has been known in many instances to work on bacterial infections all on its own without the use of prescribed
antibiotics. Crush the garlic, and place it in the cavity. It will sting for a few seconds going in, but it settles the pain before long. If you want it to work even better, prepare a strong salt solution and swish the area to get rid of any debris that may be lying around, and then place the clove there. The pain will go, and you may not even need to see a dentist
- An onion will work in the same way – it will kill bacteria and leave you free of pain. Treat it the same way you would the garlic – pound and pack the cavity. If you’re not in too much pain to chew, chew it and take around your mouth, letting it linger around where you have the pain.
- Wheatgrass is also excellent. If you can chew it, go ahead and chew it. If you can’t, find a way to crush it and pack it around the painful area. It acts as a strong, natural mouthwash, and it draws out bacteria from both the gum surface and the teeth.
- Clove oil has strong antiseptic properties. If you can get hold of some, pour a couple of drops directly into the cavity. If you can’t, crush a clove and pack it against the cavity or get the juice in there.
- Activated charcoal can be bought in some pharmacies now, and is good for aching cavities. Just crush it into a paste, pack it into gauze and hold it against the painful cavity. It should take away the pain.
The long term solution for cavities though, is to have your dentist have a look and recommend a permanent course of action – remember that sometimes even filling cavities may not be a permanent solution. Taking regular extra-good care of your teeth if you have cavities is one way to make sure that you get toothaches less frequently. Otherwise, keep all the above handy; you never know when you’ll need them.
_C. Chipped or broken teeth. Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there’s 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 any swelling down and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.
_D. Knocked-out tooth. Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
__1) Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth. See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist’s office, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.
__2) Objects caught between teeth. First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you can’t get the object out, see your dentist. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface.
_E. Possible Broken Jaw
If you think that your jaw might be broken, apply a cold compress to the area to minimize any swelling. You will need to see your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
_F. Lost filling. (See Survival Manual/6. Medical/a) Dental/Temporary Filling & Crown post) As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.
_G. Lost crown. (See Survival Manual/6. Medical/a) Dental/Temporary Filling & Crown doc) If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at Amazon.com, your local drug store, or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!
_H. Broken braces wires. If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band 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 reposition 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.
_I. Loose brackets and bands. Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it recemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).
_J. Abscess . Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.
_K. Soft-tissue injuries. Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here’s what to do:
- Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
- Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
- To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.
_L. Bitten Tongue or Lip
If you have bitten your tongue or lip, gently wipe the area clean with a cloth. Apply a cold compress to the area to minimize any swelling. If the bleeding will not stop, you should go to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.