What are dental emergencies? Dental emergencies include:
- Abscesses and gum infections
- Loose or displaced teeth
- Tongue injuries
- Broken, fractured or chipped teeth
- Soft tissue injury (e.g. lips, mouth, gum or jaw)
- Knocked out teeth
The key to successful emergency treatment is to stay calm and call your dentist immediately for professional advice on your next step. But did you know that most dental emergencies are preventable? You can’t predict when an accident that causes oral injury happens. But you can manage risk by better assessing and preparing for situations with higher risk factors, like contact sports for example. Here are some ways to prevent acute oral injuries and conditions:
- Mouth-guards – If your sport puts your teeth, tongue, gums, soft tissue and supporting bone at risk, invest in a custom-fitted mouth-guard for better protection, from your dentist. Specialized night mouth-guards can also protect people with a tooth-grinding condition ( Bruxism ).
- Rules of play – When it comes to children participating in recreational activities, remind them of the rules and conditions of play, that ensure their health and safety. For example, no running around a pool.
- Good oral hygiene and care – Dental emergencies occur as a result of poor oral hygiene and care. Toothaches, abscesses and other oral infections can be prevented with good tooth brushing and flossing habits and regular dental check-ups. That way, you can avoid the pain and inconvenience of an acute oral condition.
- Healthy diet – Limit eating plaque-forming foods containing high sugar and starches, as snacks. Plaques cause dental decay which can lead to oral infection and gum disease.
- Sensible biting and chewing habits – The breaking, fracturing and chipping of teeth can occur from the forceful biting or chewing of sticky or hard food like chewy or hard candy and olive seeds. Non-food objects like glasses, pens and pencils can cause oral injury too. Avoid using your teeth to cut non-food items like tape.
Good common sense, oral care and risk management are key to minimizing the risks of a dental emergency. But if you or your family experience one, contact your dentist immediately.