Dental emergencies can occur when your tooth breaks, cracks, becomes loosened, or is knocked out completely. Sometimes dental crowns come off of teeth. Lips, gums, or cheeks can be cut.
Dental emergencies can be avoided by taking simple precautions, such as wearing a mouthguard during sports activities to prevent teeth from breaking or being knocked out, and avoiding hard foods that may crack or break your teeth—whether you have your natural teeth or you wear dentures. Oral injuries often are painful and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
If your tooth is loosened and pushed out of position, call your dentist right away for an emergency appointment. In the meantime, attempt to reposition it to its normal alignment using very light finger pressure—but don’t force it!
Injuries inside the mouth include tears or cuts, puncture wounds, and lacerations to the cheek, lips, or tongue. The wound should be cleaned immediately with warm water, and the injured person should be taken directly to an oral surgeon for emergency care. If you can’t get to an oral surgeon, the patient should be taken to the hospital. Bleeding from a tongue laceration can be reduced by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the wound.
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear.
Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.
It is very important to maintain baby teeth because these teeth hold space for the future eruption of permanent teeth. If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent tooth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment. Infected baby teeth also can cause permanent teeth to develop improperly, resulting in permanent enamel defects and weaker teeth.
Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 4. They will usually lose their front teeth first. Children will continue to lose baby teeth until age 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally erupt.
Common causes of canker sores
- Local trauma and stress
- Diet and food allergies
- Hormonal changes
- Use of certain medications
Common treatments of canker sores:
- Antimicrobial mouthwashes
- Local painkillers
- Over-the-counter remedies (oral adhesive patches, liquids and gels)
Many people grind their teeth at night. Grinding, or bruxism, may cause serious damage to the teeth, and may require you to need crowns. Grinding, which often begins in your teenage years or early 20s, can be detected and corrected before much damage has been done. Dentists can create bite splints for you to wear at night or during stressful times when most teeth-grinding occurs.
Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene but can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease.
It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth, will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouthrinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist, because these products only mask the odor temporarily and some products work better than others.
Signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, pus between the gum and tooth, persistent bad breath, a change in the way teeth fit together when the patient bites and a change in the fit of dentures. While patients are advised to check for the warning signs, there might not be any discomfort until the disease has spread to a point where the tooth is unsalvageable. That’s why patients are advised to get frequent dental exams.
Removing plaque through daily brushing, flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk. Your dentist can design a personalized program of home oral care to meet your needs.
Many people ring in a new year by making health-related resolutions to improve their lives, but how many of those lifestyle changes are kept past January? The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up to date in the profession through continuing education, has compiled some easy-to-keep oral health tips that consumers can work into their everyday routines and continue to perform throughout the year.
“Oral health means more than just an attractive smile,” says AGD spokesperson Raymond Martin, DDS, MAGD. “Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life. And, in many cases, the condition of the mouth mirrors the condition of the body as a whole.”
- Floss every day. It’s the single most important factor in preventing gum disease, which affects more than 50 percent of adults. Spend two to three minutes flossing at least once a day. Not flossing because it irritates your gums? The more often you floss, the tougher your gums will become.
- Brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes twice daily. If you’re not sure whether you’re brushing long enough, simply brush for the length of an entire song on the radio.
- Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head (if you’re using an electric toothbrush) before the bristles become splayed and frayed, or every three to four months. Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, they may harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections, such as gingivitis and gum disease.
- Drink sugary beverages through a straw. This will minimize the amount of time that the sugars are in contact with your teeth, which can minimize the risk of developing cavities.
- Replace carbonated beverages, which cause enamel erosion and cavities, with water, milk, tea, or coffee.
- Chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol after meals and snacks. This will help cleanse your mouth and prevent the bacteria associated with cavities from attaching to your teeth. Even better, gum will increase your saliva production and reduce bad breath!
- Wait one hour to brush your teeth after consuming highly acidic food or drinks, like wine, coffee, citrus fruits, and soft drinks. Otherwise, you run the risk of wearing away the enamel on your teeth.
“One last reminder to patients is that they should make an appointment to see their general dentist every six months,” adds Dr. Martin. “More than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, meaning that your dentist could be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem.”
- Brush with the radio on – dentists recommend brushing for the entire length of a song.
- Use fluoridated, antimicrobial toothpastes and mouth rinses. They help to make the tooth structure resistant to decay.
- Keep oral hygiene products at work. Studies show that the chance of a person using them during the day will increase 65 percent.
- Talk to your dentist about new products you’re using, as all products are not suited for all people.
- Skip the caffeine. Avoiding caffeine before a dental appointment can make you less anxious.
- Communicate. Use hand signals to inform the dentist that you are uncomfortable, and talk to your dentist about your specific fears.
At least once a day. To give your teeth a good flossing, spend at least two or three minutes.
By packing an emergency dental care kit including: Dentist’s phone numbers (home and office) Saline solution Handkerchief Gauze Small container with lid Ibuprofen (Not aspirin. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.)
Dental implants are a possible alternative to dentures. Implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. Implants and bridges may resemble the “feel” of real teeth, but they may be more expensive than dentures. Not all patients are good candidates for implants, so be sure to talk to your dentist about which treatment option is best for you.