Foreign Objects Stuck Between Teeth

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When you understand HOW and WHY things happen, your actions for treatment and prevention are vastly improved.

If you just want to know WHAT ACTIONS TO TAKE, scroll down.

If you’re in a real hurry, click the Print This Page button and take this information with you.

Emergencies - Potential causes

  • Eating (meat, seeds, fibrous foods, etc.)
  • Accidents involving impact (gravel, glass, etc.)
  • Chewing fingernails or other objects
  • Broken pieces of tooth

Emergencies - Symptoms

  • Pressure between the teeth
  • Irritated gums
  • Swollen gums

Emergencies - Relieve pain

  • Most pain from objects between the teeth is caused by the gums reacting to the foreign object. If you can’t floss the object out yourself, you’ll need to get your child to their dentist to remove it.

Emergencies - What to do

  1. Try flossing out the foreign object first. Wiggle the floss down between the contacting teeth, but then wiggle the floss as you pull the floss out toward the cheek or tongue. DON’T attempt to pull the floss back through the contacts. Just pull it out toward one side or the other.
  2. You can also try SOFT wooden or plastic toothpicks to remove the foreign object, usually toward the cheek or tongue. NEVER use hard instruments, especially metal, to pick at the teeth, even though the dentist will. Hard instruments in untrained hands can chip or break teeth.
  3. If you can’t get the object out yourself, contact your child’s dentist. If you leave foreign objects in place, the body WILL react to them, usually in the form of increasing pain, swelling, and bleeding.
  4. If your child already has pain, swelling, and bleeding due to a foreign object stuck between the teeth, definitely get them to their dentist that day. Left in place, a foreign body can cause a severe infection such as an abscess.

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NOTE: Any recommendations given can only be construed as general information. It is impossible for me to know your specific circumstances. I am not your family’s personal dentist. This material should NOT be used to diagnose the presence or absence of any particular ailment. This information is not intended to be a substitute for the services of a locally qualified dental health care professional. Any application of the material found on this website is at the reader’s discretion and is her or his sole responsibility. If there is any question, contact your dentist or other qualified dental health care professional.
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