Common dental emergencies, such as a broken or knocked-out tooth, abscess or infection, may warrant a visit to your 24-hour dentist. Although it's practical to know of a local 24-hour dentist in the event of an emergency, many predicaments can be avoided through oral care and precaution. This may include the use of protective devices when playing contact sports and avoiding foods and substances that may cause dental problems.
Here are six ways to avert a dental crisis:
1. Avoid Hard, Crunchy Food
Biting down on a hard piece of candy, ice chip or caramel corn can crack the teeth. A cracked or broken tooth can become a dental emergency, as it may cause pain due to exposure of the nerve. In addition, a sharp or jagged edge of a broken tooth may cut the inside of your mouth, lip or tongue. An emergency dentist may repair a cracked tooth by using a filling material or crown.
2. Cut Back on Sugary Treats
Sugary desserts and sweets lead to the formation of cavities and promote tooth decay. How can this become a dental emergency? Simply put, tooth decay may lead to infection.
If the infection doesn't respond to antibiotic treatment, oral surgery may be necessary. Common signs of dental infection include pain and swelling. If you suspect dental infection, you should see your dentist at once.
3. Quit Smoking
You're probably aware that cigarette smoking may cause a host of medical issues ranging from emphysema to lung cancer, but did you know that smoking may harm your gums? Yes, smoking is a contributor of periodontal disease. Over time, this may lead to bleeding gums or pus-filled pockets. This infection will warrant a trip to your emergency dentist.
Pipe smokers are also likely to experience oral problems. Did you know that the use of tobacco products may cause oral cancer? Not only is this a true dental emergency, it can be life-threatening if not detected and treated in the early stages.
4. Check for Vitamin Deficiencies
For healthy teeth and gums, and to prevent dental emergencies due to tooth decay and gum disease, be sure you're not deficient in essential vitamins. If you have symptoms such as mouth burning or bleeding gums, you might be lacking important vitamins. Did you know that a vitamin A deficiency may lead to sore gums and bleeding? The same holds true for a vitamin C deficiency.
Up your intake of these vitamins by adding green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruit to your diet. Ask your doctor or dentist if you should take a vitamin supplement as well.
5. Protect Your Teeth From Potential Injury When Playing Sports
Sports-related injuries may not only cause fractured or knocked-out teeth, it may lead to injury of the soft tissue in the mouth. You can prevent such an injury by a wearing a protective device when participating in sports. A mouth guard is designed for this purpose.
You can purchase a ready-made mouth guard in youth or adult sizes at most sporting goods stores. If you prefer, ask your dentist to design a custom fit mouth guard. This may be especially suitable for a child.
A custom fit mouth guard will be designed with proper space to accommodate newly erupting teeth. Another advantage to a custom made mouth guard is that it can be fabricated to fit the unique shape of one's mouth. This is especially important for those who wear orthodontics or or have gaps between teeth.
Another way to prevent dental emergencies when playing sports such as hockey and football is to always wear a face cage and helmet. The face cage will affix to the helmet. The thick metal protects the face and mouth from injury during impact.
6. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
It's a given that practicing proper oral hygiene can prevent dental issues that warrant a trip to the emergency dentist. Brushing your teeth after meals and daily flossing between teeth is a step in the right direction. It's also crucial to see your dentist regularly for routine care and dental cleanings.
By following these simple guidelines, you may be able to avert dental emergencies. This may not only save you money, it could help you enjoy a healthy smile for years to come.
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