Being active is great for your health and wellbeing, but it can put you at a higher risk for injury, including dental injury. Here are some tips to prevent injuries and what to do if they happen.
Protect your teeth. A properly fitted mouth guard is your best defense. It should be comfortable and stay in place while you are wearing it, be flexible so it won’t break or tear and be easy to clean. It should be worn both during practice as well as games/events. Rinse your mouth guard both before and after wearing it with cold water. Clean it in cool water with an antibacterial hand soap then rinse thoroughly after each use. Store it in a firm, perforated container to allow air to get in. Avoid extreme heat – such as sun, hot water or hot surfaces as heat may distort the mouth guard.
Common Dental Emergencies.
Knocked-out tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water. Don’t touch the root, and don’t scrub it or try to remove any tissue. Gently put the tooth back in the socket if possible, and if not, put the tooth in a container with milk. Contact your dentist immediately!
Broken Tooth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and use cold compresses to control the swelling. Contact your dentist immediately and take the broken fragment wrapped in a wet towel or gauze with you.
Broken Jaw. To control swelling, apply cold compresses to the area and contact your dentist or go to Urgent Care immediately.
Toothache. Try rinsing with warm water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food caught between the teeth. Go to your dentist as soon as possible.
Bitten tongue or lip. Gently clean the area with cold water and a cloth and apply cold compresses to control the swelling. If the bleeding is heavy or doesn’t stop in a relatively short time, seek care from your dentist or Urgent Care.
Wisdom teeth are the last 4 teeth to erupt, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. A few lucky people are able to keep their wisdom teeth without problems, but for most this is not the case and delaying their removal can create problems.
Wisdom teeth often grow in crooked because there simply isn’t enough room for them, causing other teeth to shift and can be quite painful. They can become impacted, meaning that they fail to emerge fully into their expected position. This can cause infection, cysts or tumors. They are also difficult, if not impossible, to clean properly due to their placement in your mouth. This can lead to gum irritation, infection, decay and periodontal disease. The older you get the more difficult the extractions can become because the bone around the tooth becomes denser making the tooth harder to remove.
Ultimately if you wait to remove wisdom teeth the risk of complications increases, so it is usually recommended to remove any potentially problematic wisdom teeth sooner rather than later.
Flossing is the best way to promote healthy gums and prevent gum disease. We’ve all heard it before. It removes plaque, reduces bleeding, removes trapped food and prevents cavities. But what if you hate flossing or are physically unable? There are many great alternatives to try.
Dental Floss – sometimes you just need to find the right floss for you. Floss comes in waxed and unwaxed, Polytetrafluoroethylene (one example of this is Glide) and is great for tightly spaced teeth, Dental Tape which is broader and flatter than traditional floss, Super Floss is yarnlike with stiffer portions on the end.
Floss Picks and Soft Picks are great alternatives to clean around the teeth and under the gums and are widely available. We can provide you with a sample to try at your next cleaning.
Waterpiks, available in countertop and cordless versions, use water pressure to remove plaque and trapped food and to help flush out the area between your teeth and gums. Waterpiks are also a great option for people with braces, implants or bridges to get into areas that floss can’t reach. They work well for people with dexterity issues.
Individuals that are consistent with any version of devices to clean between the teeth are those that maintain the healthiest tissue, with very little to no bleeding. Studies show that nearly half of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and nearly two-thirds of those age 60 and above suffer from moderate to severe periodontal disease.
The key is to find something you are willing to use. There is no single product that works for all; if you don’t like it, you won’t use it.