Dental Emergencies: Painful but Often Preventable
Experiencing a dental emergency can be a downright traumatic event. Not only will you likely be feeling intense pain, but you’ll also need to cope with the stress of managing the situation financially. The good news is dental emergencies are largely preventable.
According to statistics presented by the American Dental Association, over two million people are admitted to an ER for dental-related emergencies each year. However, a whopping 80% of these dental-related ER visits are related to “preventable conditions.”
The two main culprits behind these dental emergency visits? Painful abscesses from infections, and toothaches caused by cavities—both highly preventable conditions.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to maintaining oral health and keeping potential dental crises averted. We’ve highlighted the top 6 important ways you can stop dental emergencies from occurring by taking a proactive approach to your oral health.
1. Make daily investments towards your dental health by practicing healthy care habits.
Dental emergency prevention begins with how you care for your smile at home.
If it isn’t already a habit, set alerts on your phone to remind you to brush your teeth twice a day and make sure you time your brushing to get your full two minutes. You should also floss at least once per day.
Use an ADA-recommended, soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three months. Your toothpaste should also be ADA-recommended and have fluoride as an ingredient to help prevent tooth decay. You can finish with a refreshing, alcohol-free mouthwash rinse if you’d like.
Some other ways to care for your teeth daily include chewing xylitol gum after meals, avoiding sugar, and reducing consumption of sodas, juices, and acidic beverages and foods.
2. Don’t skip your appointments. Schedule your biannual checkups and cleanings ahead of time.
Seeing your dentist every six months for an exam and professional cleaning is an important part of preventative dental care.
Your dentist will be able to see how your teeth are doing, spot any troublesome areas, and check for any red flags indicating more serious problems, such as oral cancer. Your dentist might even notice odd wear or rubbing that could be caused by grinding.
Even if your teeth look stunning and you didn’t have any issues six months ago, that doesn’t mean everything is still OK. Schedule these biannual visits ahead of time and don’t skip them to avoid needing to come in for a dental emergency.
3. Still have your wisdom teeth? Speak with your dentist about having them removed.
While some individuals experience no side effects from having their wisdom teeth come in naturally, for others it can spell disaster.
If your dentist has noticed that your wisdom teeth are impacted, crooked, or simply unable to erupt past the gum line properly, it’s best to get them removed before it leads to serious complications. Problematic wisdom teeth left in place can cause pain, infection, cysts, gum disease, and even permanent damage to surrounding teeth.
4. Complete your dentist’s recommended treatment plan.
When your dentist develops a treatment plan, do your very best to stick to the treatment schedule and not miss any appointments.
Delayed appointments can give certain conditions, like tooth decay, just enough time for the bacteria to turn what could have been a simple cavity into a more serious root canal. Dental health issues don’t get better with time and when decay or severe damage is present, you could be on a very limited timeframe for your dentist to be able to save your tooth.
Putting off treatment is never worth it, especially when it results in the need for more invasive and expensive fixes. If finances are holding you back, speak with your dental practice about financing options that could help you. Here at Ada Smile Place, we recommend and support CareCredit.
5. Don’t put off getting your permanent crown or try to ride out a toothache.
Two things that are commonly put off by patients are getting a final permanent crown and getting a toothache addressed immediately.
It can be tempting to put off getting a permanent crown when a temporary seems to be doing just fine, but don’t fall for it. Temporary crowns are only made to last for a few weeks and even if your temporary crown does last, it’s important to remember that it isn’t designed to fully fit your tooth. Bacteria can easily creep up along the edges and begin to cause decay under the cap itself, without you even knowing.
The same rule applies to toothaches. If you’re experiencing pain, that means serious damage has already taken place. Trying to ride it out is only going to result in further decay and the possibility of serious infections, leading to a dental emergency.
6. Invisalign will not only improve your confidence but also prevent future issues relating to misalignment and overcrowding.
It’s important to remember that orthodontic care isn’t just a luxury; it also can play an important part in preventing future dental emergencies.
Misaligned, severely crooked, and overcrowded teeth aren’t just unattractive, they can also cause serious issues with your oral health overall. These types of problems contribute to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, not to mention grinding, chipping, and even breakage from teeth hitting one another.
Invisalign is a highly effective way of realigning your teeth to stop these issues from happening, plus you get the added bonus of a more confident, attractive smile. Invisalign is more affordable than you might think and you could see results faster than with traditional wire braces. Plus, most adults will agree that clear aligners are certainly preferable to having visible (and sometimes uncomfortable) metal in your mouth.
Your dentist plays a key role in preventing dental emergencies.
The goal of the dental team at Ada Smile Place is to help you get a healthy smile you can feel confident about by proactively addressing problem areas in your oral health before they become a serious issue.
We encourage new and existing patients alike to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists to see what treatment options are available, especially if you’re currently experiencing any type of pain, irritation, or sensitivity.