October 17, 2012
Survival Skills: Emergency Dentistry in the Field - 1
by Tim MacWelch
If you’re like me, you still cringe when you think of the “home dentistry” scene in Castaway, when Tom Hanks’ character knocks an abscessed tooth out of his own mouth by using an ice skate and a rock as a hammer and chisel. And he wasn’t successful on the first attemp. Dealing with tooth trouble in the middle of nowhere really is a nightmare scenario.
Teeth that have been cleanly knocked out can be saved and restored, if you are lucky. You can try to insert the tooth back into the socket, and tie the tooth to neighboring teeth with dental floss to stabilize it. Cracked and splintered teeth can be similarly tied up with floss to stabilize them. Orajel, oil of cloves, and other oral pain relievers can be used on the gums to ease the pain from any of these injuries. I also carry a generous supply of ibuprofen for all kinds of pain management, including tooth pain.
Got a bad-tooth story? Let’s hear it in the comments.