My name is Dr. Paige Woods, and I have dedicated my career to becoming a dentist, and one that helps people who have suffered a dental emergency, like having their tooth knocked out, or persistent toothache that becomes unbearable.
It may seem odd that I am giving advice on how to prevent dental emergencies when my very job is to help people who have experienced them, but I want what is best for my patients! It is always going to be in your best interests not to have to come and see me in the first place, and there are some simple things that you can do that will lower your chances of needing to see an emergency dentist dramatically:
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
We were all told to do it at high school, and that doesn’t change no matter what age you are! When playing contact sports such as American football you should always be wearing a mouthguard, as it is the best defence from a tooth being knocked out or chipped. I would also recommend that you wear a mouth guard no matter what sport you are playing. It is possible to trip over and bash your tooth whether you’re playing tennis or basketball, and the only thing that can prevent the worst from happening is a little bit of plastic that will only cost a few dollars. Invest in one!
- Do not chew things you shouldn’t
This may sound a little obvious, but you would be amazed at how many patients I see come into my emergency room because they have been chewing on ice, or popcorn kernels, or hard candy that should be sucked not bitten. Our teeth are not built to be able to chew into those sorts of things, and the strain that it can put on your teeth is immense – and sometimes they crack. It may be tempting, especially if you have got into the habit of doing it, but your teeth will thank you for getting out of the habit.
- Never use your teeth to cut something
Scissors are always better, even if they are in the other room and it would mean that you would have to walk all the way over there to get them! Even something as seemingly weak as sellotape can do serious damage to your teeth if you use them to cut it regularly, and over time that weakness can mean that biting into something like an apple can do them real harm. Never use your teeth to cut something, and if you really don’t have any scissors, then use a knife carefully.
- Do not ignore initial symptoms
Especially pertinent for toothaches, you should never ignore the initial symptoms because your teeth will be trying to tell you that something is not quite right. If you see a hairline crack in one of your teeth, do not ignore it; make an appointment to see a dentist. It could be nothing, but it could prevent a painful and expensive cracked tooth further down the line. If you are starting to experience toothache more regularly, do not ignore it and put it down to something small. Make sure that you go and talk to your dentist, because it could be that they can fix that problem for you. Ignoring initial symptoms means that you are ignoring what your body is telling you, and we should all try to be more attune with our bodies.
- Practice good daily dental hygiene
Few people realise that of their dental problems later in life could all have been prevented if they had just focused on good dental hygiene day in, day out, when they were younger. Brushing your teeth properly for two minutes twice a day, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash once a day will keep your teeth healthy and without bacteria, so they will be less likely to get infected or weak. When you practice good daily dental hygiene you will also notice any differences in your teeth much quicker, so that you can go and talk to your dentist about them sooner.
- Visit your regular dentist every six months
I suppose what most of this boils down to is this: go and see your dentist every six months. If that feels excessive, then it won’t once you get into the habit of doing it! No one but your dentist is going to be able to tell you exactly what is going on with your teeth, and even when you practice good daily dental hygiene – which you should – only your dentist is the expert. They will be able to spot problems before they happen, and if you leave it three years or so before seeing them again, then they are not going to be able to catch problems early enough to prevent them.
If you are already in need of an emergency dentist in San Diego, please call us at (610) 359-6569 for immediate assistance.