Tips on Preventing a Dental Emergency

dental emergency

A dental emergency is defined as an issue that requires immediate care. These can range from pain, swelling, and abscesses to fractured, lost, or chipped teeth due to trauma.

While some dental emergencies occur randomly, others can be preventable. The best way to manage a dental emergency is to prevent one from happening. Here are 5 ways to prevent dental emergencies:

Practice Daily Dental Hygiene

While breaking a tooth from falling or getting hit in the face may be the first image that comes to mind when you think of dental emergencies, it is common for dental emergencies to be related to basic dental health issues such as pain associated with cavities or decay. Preventative care is key. 

Dr. Sledge recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth for at least 2 minutes. Besides brushing, you should also floss in between each tooth every night before going to bed to remove harmful plaque and bacteria missed by your toothbrush. For more instructions on proper oral care, visit our suggested “Home Care” instructions.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups

Checkups and cleanings allow us to detect problems with your teeth and gums before they become an emergency. Not only can we find cavities before they become painful, we can also find small fractures or weak spots that may cause a chipped or broken tooth if untreated. The dentist has the tools to eliminate stubborn plaque deposits that cannot be cleaned by regular brushing. If you fail to visit the dentist, you put yourself at the risk of cavities and gum diseases.

During your appointment, Dr. Sledge will carefully examine your oral cavity for signs of oral health issues and provide preventive care. For more information, see “Cleanings and Preventions”.

Protect Your Teeth from Trauma & Grinding

Many dental injuries result from trauma or injury to the face, such as from an accident, fall, or sports-related event. You cannot always prepare for this type of situation; however, you can if you play sports wearing an athletic mouth guard significantly reduces your risk of injury to your teeth, gums, and oral structures.

Trauma can also be caused by long-term pressure or strain on your teeth, like what is caused by bruxism. The grinding and pressure will wear down your enamel, increasing your risk of a fracture or even a loose tooth. A nightguard provides a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent a costly dental bill down the road.

For more information on custom athletic mouth guards and nightguards, please give us a call. (920) 854-5200

Use the Correct Tools, Not your Teeth

Get in the habit of using an appropriate tool for each task. Do not use your teeth to open or rip apart items, which puts unnecessary stress on them. You should only use your teeth for consuming food.

When it comes to opening packaging or cutting stray strings, reach for the scissors or other appropriate tools, and you could likely prevent a dental emergency.

Avoid Chewing Extremely Hard Foods

Although biting and chewing are natural functions of the teeth, attempting to bite or chew extremely hard foods can result in damage to the teeth. Most commonly teeth will become chipped or cracked from foods that are too hard. For a list of the most common food that can damage your teeth, see the American Dental Association’s “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth”. 

The Bottom Line

Dental emergencies can be debilitating. They cause pain, long-term damage and sometimes require expensive, invasive dental procedures. With preventive care, you can reduce your chances of having a dental emergency.

Request an appointment here or call Dentistry by Design at (920) 854-5200 

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The month of April has been dedicated oral cancer awareness month. This deadly form of cancer claims ONE life an hour in the US alone and has a 50% mortality rate five years beyond diagnosis. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that medical professionals and researchers are dedicated to raising awareness.

Unfortunately, oral cancers are often not detected early because the symptoms can be painless, and many people are not aware of the disease. But the good news is that survival rate is high when oral cancers are found in the first stages. Awareness and early detection are key!

The Symptoms:

  • White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips
  • Swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue

The Risk Factors:

  • Age: The disease usually occurs over the age of 40
  • Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers
  • Lifestyle: Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, and heavy alcohol use
  • Family or personal history: Those who have had oral cancer previously are at an increased risk of developing another oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

One of the best ways you can celebrate oral cancer awareness month is by visiting your trusted dentist for an oral cancer screening. During these appointments, you’ll receive a gentle examination looking for the common warning signs of this disease. By receiving regular screenings during your preventive dentistry appointments, you may significantly reduce your chances for oral cancer.

As your dentist, we consider ourselves a partner in your overall health care, helping you to enjoy the best quality of life every day. 

Sources: 

  1. Cancer.org
  2. Oral Cancer Foundation
  3. Cancer.gov

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children? It’s true! Helping your children maintain a healthy smile takes some extra work and vigilance, especially when they are still very young and may not be able to brush on their own. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), so there is no better time than now to learn more about children’s oral care from your dental team at Dentistry by Design!

Dr. Sledge recommends the following strategies to set your kids up for a lifetime of dental success:

  • 2×2 – Your children should brush for two minutes, twice a day and they should floss just as often. Brush right alongside your kids to watch for proper technique, and play some fun music on your phone to make sure you brush long enough. Encourage them to spit out toothpaste, since getting too much fluoride can impact the appearance of their teeth.
  • Eat Healthy – Every parent knows just how many sweets are aimed at their kids. This compounds the problem for kids, since they’re already prone to tooth decay and cavities. Limit sugar – in foods and drinks (like fruit juices) – and stick to water, high-protein snacks, leafy greens, and dairy products. Cheese can protect tooth enamel so enjoy this healthy treat.
  • See Your Dentist – Since dental problems can arise as soon as teeth show up in the mouth, the ADA recommends scheduling your child’s first appointment no later than their first birthday. Kids should see our team at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
  • Make It Fun – It’s important that kids get a good impression of the dentist when they’re young to encourage a lifelong habit of dental wellness. Watch cartoons and read children’s books about the dentist. Do dental activity sheets before your children’s appointment. (see below) Get them excited to visit the dentist!!
  • Set A Good Example – You know that your kids look up to you, so if you drink soda all day long, skimp on flossing, and don’t visit the dentist yourself, your children will pick up on that message.

Fun activity sheets for your children:

Now that you know what Children’s Dental Health Month is all about, take advantage of our $65 kids smile special  and give your son or daughter a smile that will last a lifetime! 

Schedule an appointment today! (920) 854-5200

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Smile

 

Smile

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Smile

 

Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the New Year is a great time to design resolutions for establishing healthy habits. Whether it’s improving toothbrushing habits or completing dental treatment, wellness resolutions are ALWAYS in season and the benefits of setting goals can be rewarding and motivating. Remember to make resolutions attainable by taking baby steps to achieve them.

Routine Dental Visits: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you visit your dentist twice a year for a routine checkup to help maintain optimal oral health and identify any potential dental concerns before they have a chance to develop into something more serious. If you have been putting off your checkup or restorative work that needs to be done, then set a goal to get it done right away. Most dental insurance plans renew at the beginning of the year, which means that you have new coverage for the services that are needed.

Brush & Floss Daily: Brushing twice-a-day and flossing daily keeps harmful bacteria and plaque at bay, freshens your breath, and brightens your smile — which is typically the first thing people notice about you. Plus, it only takes a handful of minutes each day to floss and brush, so once you get into a routine it will be easy to maintain!

Choose Water Instead of Soda: It’s important to stay hydrated, but sipping on a soda throughout the day can be one of the worst things you can do for your dental health. Every time you take a sip, the sugar from the soda coats your teeth and creates the perfect acidic environment that promotes tooth decay.

In 2021, ditch the soda and switch it out for healthier alternatives like water.

Get a New Toothbrush: When was the last time you got a new toothbrush? It’s recommended that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months. One of the reasons is that the bristles can wear, making the toothbrush less effective. But a lesser-known reason for replacing your toothbrush is all about cleanliness. Toothbrushes are susceptible to bacteria just like the teeth, meaning that if you don’t take care of it adequately and keep it clean between use, you could be introducing bacteria into your mouth every time you brush.

Kick the Habit: Smoking has been linked to several health issues, making “quit smoking” one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. When it comes to dental health, quitting smoking can be a game changer. Smokers face increased risk of everything from chronic bad breath and tooth discoloration, to loss of jawbone density, gum disease and tooth loss. Smokers also face an increased risk of developing oral cancer.

For more tips on how to improve your smile, like us on Facebook and Instagram, or contact us today! 

(920) 854-5200

PROTECT YOUR HOLIDAY SMILE: 5 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH HEALTHY

Holiday feasting and fun not only does a number on your waistline, but it can also take a toll on your teeth. This holiday season, get in the giving spirit and give your oral health the attention it deserves.

The WDA offers these tips for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy this holiday season:

  • Keep your routine. The holiday season is filled with plenty of hustle and bustle that can easily throw you off your oral health care routine. It’s also a time for sweet treats and starchy foods – which can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay – so it is important to brush for two minutes at least twice a day, and floss once each day. If you’re traveling and want to keep good habits on the go, pack a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste to use after meals. If brushing isn’t an option, chewing sugar-free gum is a great alternative that helps to clean debris from your teeth.
  • Limit alcohol intake. There are a number of ways that alcohol can damage your teeth, so it’s important to choose what and how much you consume in your spirit-filled celebrations. Sugar-heavy beverages, like some wines, fuel harmful bacteria in your mouth and can be a major risk factor in tooth decay. Dehydration, a common side effect of alcohol consumption, can produce the same damaging outcome by decreasing saliva flow and allowing bacteria to cling to enamel. If enjoying a few drinks in your festivities, alternate your alcohol with a glass of water to keep your mouth rinsed and hydrated.
  • Never use your teeth as a tool. When it comes to all the packages to open, bottles to uncork and nuts to crack, use the right tools for the job – and your teeth aren’t one of them. Over time, using your teeth for these tasks can weaken your enamel and fragile tooth edges, which can lead to cracks and breaks – a painful and expensive outcome that can easily be avoided.
  • Snack smart. Hard candies and cookies are just some of the sticky and starchy treats you’re sure to encounter each year. It’s important to avoid overdoing these kinds of snacks as they tend to stay on teeth longer than most other foods. While most things are fine in moderation, it helps to eat these foods during or shortly after a meal when saliva production is high and helps wash food particles away. Holidays or not, it’s always a great time to start thinking about healthier habits. Try implementing healthy options – like cheese, fruits and vegetables – into your snacking. You’ll be doing a service for your teeth and the rest of your body, as well.
  • Don’t delay treatment. If you’re scheduled for an appointment during the holidays, honor it and don’t wait to make your oral health your New Year’s resolution. It’s better to catch and fix problems now rather than potentially allow them to worsen by postponing treatment. If you’re overdue for a cleaning or need work done, don’t use the busyness of the holidays as an excuse – call your dentist today to schedule your next visit. If traveling and in need of emergency care, don’t hesitate to contact a local dental office.

It’s important to be proactive about your oral health all year-round, and not just during the holidays. Practicing good dental care is important not only for maintaining a healthy mouth, but for your overall wellness and quality of life, too. Regular visits to your dental health professional and keeping good habits can help you achieve this.

For more information about your oral health, visit the American Dental Association’s public awareness website at www.MouthHealthy.org.

(920) 854-5200