What constitutes a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is when an incident occurs that requires the immediate care of a dental professional. These 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 which will require care from a dentist as soon as possible.
What are some ways to 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.
Only chew food, and avoid chewing or biting other objects.
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 guard anytime you participate in physical activities.
If you participate in strenuous or high-impact physical activities then you should always protect your face and mouth. 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.
Try to reduce your sugar intake.
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.
Care for your teeth with ongoing at-home routine oral care.
Part of avoiding dental emergencies involves preparation and day-to-day maintenance. There are some dental emergencies that only occur when your teeth have been neglected for an extended period of time.
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 for routine care and cleanings.
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.