Enamel is the strongest substance in our bodies; after all, it stands up to a lifetime of daily use. Despite this, the enamel is also incredibly delicate, making it susceptible to breaking and cracking. Great dental hygiene is an important part of taking care of your oral health and keeping your teeth strong, but accidents can happen. Here are some tips to help you minimize your chances of facing a dental emergency and to help you be prepared if something does happen. 

Wear mouth guards.

Although many people know that they should wear a mouth guard during any contact sport, such as football and wrestling, few realize that you should also wear a mouth guard during any sport or activity during which you could receive a blow to the face, even if it’s simply due to a risk of falling. This means that when you play soccer, gymnastics, or do tricks on a skateboard, you should be wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards protect your teeth, the sensitive flesh in your mouth, and sometimes even your jaw from being injured if you take a hit to the face. It might take some getting used to, but mouth guards can save you a lot of pain and money.

Avoid crunching down on hard foods.

You might love crunching down on cold ice in the summer, but it’s very bad for your teeth. Since teeth are brittle, you run the risk of cracking, chipping, or even breaking your teeth when you crunch down on something hard. Ice isn’t the only culprit; you should avoid crunching down on any hard food, like hard candy, and should never attempt to open nuts with your teeth. It just takes one crack or break to cause you a good deal of pain, and a chip in your tooth can provide a great surface for bacteria to grow on, increasing your risk of tooth decay if you don’t get it fixed.

Open packages with scissors, not your teeth.

Using your teeth to tear or cut open packages can damage your teeth by breaking or cracking them; even if you avoid injuring your teeth in the short term, the wear and tear this causes on your teeth over the years can cause your teeth to become worn down. This alters the way they look and can cause sensitivity and pain. It’s best to find a pair of scissors and let them do the job for you.  

Visit our office regularly.

Dental emergencies can also arise in the form of tooth infections, severe cavities, fillings falling out, or thinned enamel, which makes your teeth more likely to break. It may be hard to tell what constitutes a dental emergency, but a good rule of thumb is that any time you’re in pain, you need to visit your dentist. 

A toothache can wait longer than teeth that have broken, cracked, or lost a filling, but you should still call our office right away and get the next available appointment. If you feel pain from a cavity, it’s likely already gone to the nerve, which means it needs prompt treatment. A great way to avoid these kinds of dental emergencies is to visit your dentist for regular dental cleaning; they will be able to spot any potential issues early, including decay or lose fillings, and give you tips to improve your oral health.

Fill your first aid kit with essentials.

If you have a first aid kit, you’re already well prepared for a few other types of injuries. Standard first aid kids often don’t have the essentials to handle a dental emergency, however, so it’s a good idea to add a few items to your kit. To deal with dental injuries, you should ensure that you have gauze, sterile gloves, Tylenol, and a container with a lid in your first aid kit. These items will help you stop bleeding, handle a tooth that’s been knocked out without exposing it to germs, and allow you to store pieces of a tooth or a whole tooth if you can’t put it back in the socket or keep it in your mouth. 

While you may prefer other pain medications for most circumstances, it’s important that you include Tylenol for dental injuries because ibuprofen or aspirin can act as blood thinners, actually causing you to bleed more. Make sure to put your dentist’s contact information in your kit, including an emergency number for accidents that happen when their office is closed. This will save you the time of trying to find the right number in a hurry, which is essential if you hope to save a knocked-out tooth.

Stay calm and have a plan.

The most important part of handling a dental emergency is staying calm and knowing what to do in different situations. Especially in the case of a knocked-out tooth, getting prompt treatment and handling the tooth properly is essential to receiving successful treatment. You can save valuable time by researching what you should do in different dental emergencies before you ever encounter them; ideally, you won’t need to use the knowledge, but you’ll be prepared if you do. This knowledge will also help you to remain calm when a dental emergency does arise. 

If you worry that you’ll have trouble remembering what to do in each situation, you can write each scenario and what you should do on notecards, then place them in your first aid kit alongside the supplies. Then, you’ll be prepared with the knowledge and necessary items to handle most dental emergencies quickly and correctly; this will help you get prompt treatment, keep injuries as germ-free as possible, and increase the likelihood that your dentist will be able to save lost teeth. 

There are steps you can take that go a long way toward preventing dental emergencies, from wearing mouth guards to avoiding habits that may damage your teeth. When accidents do happen, however, being prepared with the knowledge and supplies to handle the situation quickly and correctly can make all the difference in saving your injured tooth and getting prompt treatment.