Few people really enjoy going to the dentist, but having to go because of an emergency is even worse. It’s inconvenient, and the stress and expense are enough to make many people afraid to go. Here’s how to avoid all the hassle.
Take Good Care Of Your Teeth
Making sure that you’re taking care of your teeth is a good first step as are brushing everyday and flossing. These are basic maintenance steps that everyone should be doing. If you’re not, start. Basic maintenance will ensure that you have a good base to work from, and that your teeth and gums aren’t prematurely damaged or more susceptible to damage.
Wear Mouth Guards
If you play sports, or are engaged in any activity where you could fall or where something could hit you in the face, you should wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect your teeth by placing a barrier between your teeth and gums and a foreign object.
Most mouthguards are made of plastic, and can absorb the shock of mild impacts.
A helmet should also be worn when playing sports. Helmets that contain built-in mouthguards, or that contain a grill that protects the face and mouth are best. The helmet should be rated for the sport you’re engaged in, and should not have been involved in an accident previously.
Always use new helmets, and replace them when they become cracked or damaged in any way.
Practice Safety On the Field And In Life
There are many different types of injuries you can sustain in life, and many different ways to damage your teeth, including vertical root fracture, horizontal root fracture, and damage to the gums that cause the tooth to become loose or ejected from the mouth.
When an accident does occur, it’s not the time to be looking for a 24 hour dentist. You should already have one on speed dial or in your list of “favorite contacts.”
Vertical root fractures are when the tooth has cracked in a vertical direction. Fortunately, early treatment can prevent the tooth from splitting all the way up into the root. According to the American Association of Endodontists, a vertical root fracture extending below the gumline normally cannot be saved. The tooth must be extracted. If the tooth has split into two or more pieces, a special procedure might be able to save a portion of the tooth.
When the split starts at the root and works its way down to the chewing surface, it may also be saved by removing the fractured root.
A horizontal root fracture is somewhat more common. The long-term viability of the tooth often depends on the location of the fracture. Fractures closer to the gumline have worse outcomes than those near the biting and chewing end.
In either case, safety and prevention is the best way to prevent permanent damage. Always obey all laws and regulations when you are engaging in any activity on public lands or in parks.
Wear any appropriate safety gear for the sport or activity you’re engaged in. And, learn about the area where you’ll be, and any hazards you may encounter there, before you go.
David Lochner ran a dental practice for over 30 years. Now retired and with too many free hours on his hands, he likes to share his knowledge mainly by getting his articles published on dental and health and wellness blogs.