In modern society, we value the importance of preparedness. Everywhere you turn, news outlets, friends, and strangers are reminding you to prepare for the next big storm, the fiscal cliff, or the end of the world. One thing that is rarely mentioned is preparing for a dental emergency.
Your first aid kit
Hopefully, your home and vehicle are stocked with some basic first aid supplies. You probably have some bandages, antibiotic salve, and a schedule of pending apocalypses. But do you have chewing gum, salt packets, and our phone number?
If not, you need a dental first aid kit. A few of the items it might include are:
- Sterile gauze – In case of bleeding, use a small piece of gauze to apply pressure to the wound.
- Orthodontic wax – This is an especially good idea if anyone in your family wears metal braces. It can be used to coat sharp spots or temporarily seal down a broken arch wire.
- Sugar-free gum – A bit of chewed gum can temporarily secure a lost crown or replace a lost filling. Never use regular gum, because the sugar can cause pain if it contacts exposed nerves or sensitive tissues (just more evidence that sugar hates teeth).
- Clove oil – If you don't have dental pain reliever (such as Orajel), you can use clove oil directly on the gums or other soft tissues to numb the area.
- Sterile container – Be sure to bring bits of broken teeth, or lost dental restorations with you when you see a dentist. Put them in a small, sterile container to ensure they don't get lost or damaged.
- Denture adhesive – You probably don't expect to need adhesive if you don't wear dentures, but it can be used as general “dental glue.” Crowns, bridges, and more can be temporarily secured in place.
- Salt – Most homes have salt, but you probably don't carry it in your travel first aid kit unless you have a French fry addiction. However, one of those little packets dissolved in a cup of water makes a good rinse for bleeding oral injuries, infections, or pain.
- Our phone number – Emergencies don't always happen when you have a computer handy, so be sure to put our number (773-772-8400) in your first aid kit. Remember, the first thing you should do in any emergency is call us. Actually, not any emergency, just dental emergencies. We really can't help if your sink drain plugs.