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 

What’s Up with All that Poking at My Gums during Cleaning?

Have you ever wondered why our hygienists poke at your gums during your cleaning? What they are doing is checking the depth of gum tissue pockets that surround your tooth. It’s a proactive way to identify your risk for gum disease, and when done regularly, can help catch it early. Dental probing is a pretty interesting exercise in dentistry.  It can save you from surgery and extractions, and here’s why.Dental probes used by our Sturgeon Bay Dentists, Sister Bay Dentists and Algoma Dentists of Dentistry By Design

Dental Probing Catches Problems Early

One reason to visit the dentist regularly is to identify problems in your mouth that you are completely oblivious to. Subtle changes in the health of our gum tissue can be missed by the naked eye, and some people – even those who visit a dentist regularly – can be prone to an excess buildup of plaque and tartar that can result in gingivitis and periodontal disease. Thankfully, our dental team can catch these changes early through the use of X-rays and the practice of dental probing.

The reason for probing is straightforward. As periodontal disease progresses, the visible markers of the disease (plaque and tartar) migrate down along the side of the tooth into the natural “pocket” between the ridge of the gumline. This inflames the gum tissue and widens this naturally slim gap between the tooth and gum. As this gap becomes wider, even more bacteria are allowed access to the sensitive tissue fibers along the root’s outer surface, causing more damage. This process may result in bone loss, and eventually the need to extract teeth. This is why probing is so important.

How Does Dental Probing Work?

“Probing” is quite simple and is accomplished by using a dental “probe” to measure the depth of a tooth’s pocket. The probe acts like a ruler, and has markings along its side measured out in millimeters. To measure the depth of your tooth’s pocket, our hygienist gently places the probe into this pocket and makes note of the depth. Six measurements are taken per tooth, three along the outside, and three along the inside of each tooth. A depth of three millimeters or under without any bleeding is generally accepted as healthy. Above that number, your dentist may suggest more thorough cleanings, including scaling and root planing, or something even more comprehensive if the number is above a five.

Smile Gallery

So, as you can see, maintaining pocket health is critical, and proper brushing and flossing can help clear away plaque and prevent the tartar buildup that expands a pocket. Regular visits to our office plays a critical role in ensuring you’re staying ahead of gum disease – particularly if you have been identified as having periodontitis and recommended for more frequent, thorough cleanings. With a good routine and frequent visits to the dentist the only numbers you’ll be hearing moving forward should be 1, 2 and 3! Keep up the good work.

*Article provided by Revenue Well.