A Guide to Emergency Dental Kits
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 therefore give you the opportunity to effect some rudimentary care before heading straight 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.
So what is a dental repair kit and what is it intended for? There are a number of different branded dental repair kits available. Depending on the price, they may contain different things. For example, a cheaper version may simply contain some antiseptic mouthwash and a temporary cap and cement, which will help you to repair a split tooth or a lost filling. Alternatively, more expensive kits may include a wider array of materials. For example, a more expensive kit may include some of the tools you will normally only see your dentist using, such as a hand held dental mirror. A piece of equipment like this can make an emergency dental job so much easier.
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.
Who needs a dental repair kit?
Many different types of people find it useful to keep an emergency dental kit. Many parents with young children find it reassuring to be able to treat and help their child when they are suffering from tooth pain. From the age of six to fourteen or fifteen, your teeth are at their most vulnerable to decay. This is the time in our lives when we are most likely to suffer from toothache. Therefore, it makes sense to keep a dental repair kit in the family home.
People are also attracted to the idea of dental repair kits if they are travelling in isolated places. When we go on holiday, we are all used to having injections, taking malaria tablets and mosquito repellent. We all make sure we have travel insurance. However, how many of us think about what we would do if there was a dental emergency and we were a long way from the nearest hospital? Travelling to isolated parts of the world is increasingly common – perhaps that’s one reason why dental repair kits are becoming more popular.
Dental repair kits are also becoming standard issue for sports physios, team coaches and school nurses. Many of the more serious dental traumas occur on the sports field and immediate treatment can often make the difference between losing a tooth or saving it. In fact, in many cases of dental injury, a quick temporary treatment such as covering a cavity or stemming blood flow may be an important factor in warding off future infection, which can make the situation far more serious.
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 painkilling 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.
The dangers of DIY dentistry
It is vital to remember that home dental repair kits are only designed to provide temporary dental relief. They are not designed to be long-term solutions. Many people, especially people who are afraid of visiting their dentist, will try to attempt what has become known as DIY dentistry. In virtually every case, this is ill advised.
Without professional care and attention, the condition of your teeth will deteriorate. If you have already sustained damage or decay to your teeth, patching it up with a home kit is just a short-term fix. You have not healed the tooth. You have simply bought yourself some time and, hopefully, eased the pain while you wait for your dentist to see you. If you try to repair, remove or treat you teeth at home as an alternative to visiting your dentist, you will more than likely require more complex and expensive dental work in the future.