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14 November 2008
By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, India

The helpline (9914208717) to attend trauma cases related to teeth will be managed by a four–member team of senior doctors
If you happen to break your teeth, don’t fret. Just put them in some milk or coconut water and scuttle off to a dentist–so advises a newly launched helpline here.

The oral health sciences department at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has started the unique 24–hour emergency helpline (9914208717) dedicated to saving broken or fractured teeth.

“A helpline to attend trauma cases related to teeth was the need of the hour. We have observed here in our department that cases of dentofacial trauma that affect patients’ teeth and facial structure has increased manifold in the last few years,” PGIMER’s Paediatric Dentistry senior faculty member Ashima said.

The helpline will be managed by a four–member team of senior doctors.

“Broken and fractured teeth are the most common cases. Earlier, we used to hardly get one or two such cases in a month but now we are getting two cases of broken teeth and three to four cases of fractured teeth every week,” Ashima said.

Alarmingly, most of these cases involve children or teenagers who incur injury because of some scuffle, fall or accident, she pointed out.

The helpline number, 9914208717, was flashed on the PGIMER’s website three weeks ago on a trial basis. After getting a remarkable response from the public, it was launched formally on Monday.

The Oral Health Sciences Department at the institute is one of the most ultra modern and well–equipped departments, with over 40 physicians attending to hundreds of patients everyday.

“Damaged teeth can be successfully re–implanted if they are preserved well and are cautiously taken to the physician in a short time,” Ashima said.

“We give easy and quick tips on the phone as to how to protect broken teeth. Generally, people wrap broken teeth in paper to save them, but that is entirely wrong as they should be kept in milk, coconut water or even in the mouth so that they do not lose moisture,” she said.

PGIMER, one of the leading medical institutes of northern India, was started in 1962, caters to patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Normally, people tend to ignore teeth problems, causing more trouble a few years later. Many times, patients come to us two or three days after a tooth injury and at that time, the doctors cannot do much to help them,” Mishthu, a senior resident doctor and one of the attendants at the helpline said.

“Although in the initial days, the response was lukewarm, now the response is overwhelming as we are getting continuous calls from patients. It is indeed very satisfying for us that we are able to help a patient in time,” Mishthu stated.

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