The thought of experiencing a dental emergency - the inconvenience, discomfort and uncertainty - inspires dread in many people. The good news is that we can take steps to avoid such incidents. Here, our Edmonton dentists offer some tips on how to do so.
What is a dental emergency?
Any dental problem that requires immediate attention from a dentist is classified as a dental emergency. This may include:
- Knocked out, chipped or broken teeth
- Severe or persistent toothache that can’t be addressed with over-the-counter pain medications
- Cuts to the lip or tongue
- Severe swelling on your face or in your mouth
- Lost crowns or fillings
Any of these situations can cause pain, damage or discomfort to your teeth, and will need to be treated quickly by a dentist.
How can I avoid dental emergencies?
Now that we understand what a dental emergency is, how can we avoid dealing with one? While dental emergencies can occur for a wide range of reasons and in spite of our best efforts, we can always take precautions to reduce the risk of injuring our teeth, gums or jaw.
Use your teeth only for chewing food.
Many of us use our teeth to open packages, bite fingernails and do things other than chewing food. But this is an easy way to chip or injure them, as you expose your teeth to harm along with your inner cheeks, lips and gums.
Take the extra time to find the appropriate tools such as scissors, and save your teeth for chewing food.
Wear a sports mouth guard.
Do you participate in sports or any high-impact, physically strenuous activities? Though these are great for getting your blood pumping and staying physically active, they can also present a hazard as you’re at risk for impacts to the head, face or neck.
These blows can easily result in significant injuries that lead to dental emergencies. To avoid these scenarios, always wear a custom-made mouth guard to protect your teeth and mouth against any injury.
Cut back on sugary foods.
We all love snacks and a late afternoon sugar hit can be very tempting. However, sugar results in plaque and bacteria buildup that leads to tooth decay, cavities, wear on our teeth and gum disease that can lead to dental emergencies. Hard candy, popcorn kernels and other foods can also present a hazard.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on crunchy vegetables such as carrots to snack on and healthier soft foods such as yogurt. After a few weeks of avoiding the hard, chewy sugary foods, you’ll hardly notice their absence from your diet - and your teeth will thank you.
Maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine at home.
Part of avoiding dental emergencies involves preparation and day to day maintenance. Dental emergencies sometimes happen as a result of tooth decay or painful cavities.
Maintaining a rigorous oral hygiene routine can reduce the chances of these. Remember to brush twice daily for two minutes each time and floss at least once per day.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Maintaining an oral hygiene routine and regularly visiting your dentist for hygiene cleanings and exams are essential to keeping your mouth healthy. A dentist will not only clean your teeth with professional-grade tools, but they can also diagnose any issues with your teeth early on, helping you to avoid dental emergencies.