Swimming Pool Rules Protect Pearly Whites
Following the rules and remembering dental first aid steps can help save your teeth the next time you dive into a swimming pool, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
During the summer, swimming pool accidents are the number one cause of dental emergencies at the office of E. “Mac” Edington, DDS, MAGD, immediate past president of the Academy of General Dentistry. “Swimming underwater and quickly coming to the surface causes some children to hit the hard ledge, loosening the front tooth,” says Dr. Edington.
Also, running on slippery, slick cement and ceramic pool surfaces sends many children headfirst into the ground, often causing chipped or displaced (loose) teeth. “Diving into shallow waters and hitting the bottom pushes the tooth up and can fracture the whole bone,” says Dr. Edington.
A study published in General Dentistry, the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, investigated 72,000 adult emergency room patient visits; of those, 2,895 visits were for the treatment of dental conditions, representing 3.8 percent of all the hospital emergency room visits. Visits most often occurred between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the highest number of visits on Saturday and Sunday.
What to do when an accident happens
Follow these simple first aid steps for a tooth that has been either knocked loose or knocked out:
If a tooth is displaced (loose), push the tooth back into its original position, bite down so the tooth does not move, call your dentist or visit the emergency room. The dentist may splint the tooth in place to the two healthy teeth next to the loose tooth.
For an avulsed (knocked out) tooth, pick the tooth up by the crown, not by the root — handling the root may damage the cells necessary for bone reattachment and hinder the replant. If the tooth can not be replaced in its socket on site, do not let the tooth dry out. Place it in a container with a lid and use low-fat milk, saline solution or saliva. Visit the dentist as soon as possible — the longer the tooth is out of the mouth, the less likely the tooth will be able to be saved.
“Prevention is key, but accidents will happen,” says Dr. Edington. “Prepare yourself for any dental emergency.”
Pack an emergency dental care kit that includes:
- Dentist’s phone numbers, home and office
- Small container with a lid
- Saline solution (salt and water also works)
- Low-fat milk (if available)
**Use ibuprofen, not aspirin. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.