We all dread the thought of experiencing a dental emergency – the discomfort, the inconvenience, the uncertainty. The good news is that we can take steps to avoid them. Today, our Ottawa dentists offer some advice on how to do so.
What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is any dental problem that requires immediate attention from a dentist. This can include:
- Severe or persistent toothache that can’t be addressed with over-the-counter pain medications
- Severe swelling on your face or in your mouth
- Knocked out, chipped or broken teeth
- Lost crowns or fillings
- Cuts to the lip or tongue
Any of these can cause pain, discomfort or damage to your teeth that needs to be treated quickly by a dentist.
How can I avoid dental emergencies?
Now that we know what a dental emergency is, how can we avoid having one? While dental emergencies can happen for a wide variety of reasons and in spite of our best efforts, we can always take precautions to reduce our risk of injuring our gums, teeth or jaw.
Use your teeth for chewing food only.
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 mouthguard.
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 mouthguard 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.
Along with maintaining an oral hygiene routine, regular visits to the dentist for hygiene cleanings and exams are a must. They not only clean your teeth with professional grade tools, but can also detect any issues with your teeth early on, helping you avoid dental emergencies.