Defining a Dental Emergency

What is a dental emergency? If you feel pain, call! You don’t want it to get worse than it already is.

Also, getting a tooth knocked out is an emergency too! If this ever happens, the sooner you get to the dentist the better chance of your tooth being saved.

Did you know over 5 million teeth get knocked out every year! Whether it’s sports related or accidental. Speaking of sports, with the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs are going on, don’t try to mimic your favorite moves without using a mouth guard.

Prevention is Key!

It’s summer, a good time to learn a new sport or play in leagues. Any contact sport is best played with a mouth guard. You never know what to expect, an elbow to the mouth, falling to the floor, unable to catch your fall and a ball/puck to your mouth. A mouthguard can’t protect you sitting in your gym bag! Discuss with your dentist which option is the best for your activities.

 What To Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

When your tooth is knocked out, other things are in danger as well. Nerves, blood vessels, and tissues can also be damaged from the trauma. After it’s been knocked out, you want to pick it up by the crown and not the root. Rinse the tooth gently, but not themissing tooth root because you could be scrubbing away the periodontal ligament or the cementum which is important to hold your tooth in the socket. Soap and chemicals are damaging to the cells remaining on the root and will most likely make the tooth impossible to reattach and save.

Another thing you can try is putting the tooth back in the socket. Sounds weird right? But it can help keep the tooth moist, giving it a better chance to be reattached. Another option to try is to leave it in a cup of milk because of the biological compatibility and low bacteria count, the milk can help preserve the tooth.

The most important thing to do is to call your dentist office ASAP! Your dentist will be able to determine if your tooth can return to full function or not. The longer you put off the dentist the higher the risk of permanent tooth loss If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will go over dental bridge and implant options.

Dental Emergency vs. True Dental Emergency

Is there a difference? Absolutely! Not to confuse you, but in both scenarios, you should see your dentist regardless! Let’s clarify the difference and explain anything that is unclear.

Signs of a True Dental Emergency

  • Tooth Loss
  • Extreme Pain
  • Tooth Abscess or Pus
  • Swelling
  • Cracked or Chipped tooth

Losing an “adult” tooth is a dental emergency and needs quick action to save the tooth. With pain you should call your dentist, especially with extreme pain that doesn’t lessen or go away with over the counter medicine. That could be a sign that something pain (2)more significant is wrong. Pus is a sign of infection and you could need antibiotics. It’s important to get treatment right away to help the pain and infection go away. If left untreated a tooth abscess may lead to continuous dental problems. If you see swelling on your gum line or jawline it can also be a sign of an infection. Cracked or a chipped tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies. A cracked tooth exposes your nerves, which can cause more pain and if left untreated, the crack may get worse resulting in tooth loss.

Things happen and can’t be controlled, but it’s important to be able to identify what’s wrong. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist right away.

You can never plan for a dental emergency, but you can always have your bi-annual cleanings scheduled and our number saved in your phone!

 

Life Smiles Dental Care

La Jolla: 858-455-7777
Chula Vista: 619-482-5555
El Cajon: 619-441-8000

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Movie Snacks vs. Your Teeth

Do you prefer to watch movies at home, drive-in theaters, or theaters? Regardless of your preference, drinks, and snacks pair well with your movie. Lots of good movies are out or soon to be released, be sure to learn the effects it will have on your teeth.

Popcorn

Walking into a theater, you immediately smell the freshly popped butter popcorn. We all know it’s hard to resist, but something we don’t know is popcorn packs a surprise… The kernel! Be careful this can actually crack your tooth! It’s also easy to get caught in between your teeth and the sharp edges can scratch your gums.

Another thing to know is popcorn creates lactic acid in your mouth. This is damaging to your enamel if not cleaned properly. If a kernel gets stuck in your mouth it can irritate your gum tissue and bring more bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Favorite Snacks

As you go through the line for snacks and drinks at the movie theater they have candy right next to the register for any last minute decisions/cravings. Typically, there are chocolate, sour candy, or hard candy. Sticky candy gets stuck in between teeth putting your teeth at a higher risk of decay. Sour and hard candy such as Skittles and Jolly Ranchers are highly acidic.

Sugar doesn’t directly create a cavity, the process is a chain reaction. Everyone has bacteria in their mouths, some beneficial but some are harmful. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause cavities. As the bacteria feed on sugar, it produces acid, and that acid attacks your tooth enamel.

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Soft Drinks

Soda is bad for your teeth. No news here, but did you know some sodas are worse than others? Not all sodas are created equally. Some have more acid while some have more sugar. Let’s take a look at two popular sodas, Coca- Cola and Mountain Dew.

Coca- Cola vs. Mountain Dew (link to video)

In this video, the young scientist drops a molar in a bottle of Mountain Dew and another into a bottle of Coca-Cola and leaves it soaking for almost three weeks. He notes that Mountain Dew has a pH of 3.1 while Coca-Cola has a pH of 2.5 meaning Coca-Cola is six times more acidic than Mountain Dew.

He weighed each tooth before soaking them and found out that the Coca-Cola tooth lost 7% of its mass while the Mountain Dew tooth lost 14% of its mass. Mountain Dew contains organic citric acid and Coca-Cola has phosphoric acid. In conclusion, he found out that citric acid eats away at enamel more than phosphoric acid.

Other Drinks To Be On The Lookout For

  • Coffee and Tea – They can stain your teeth and if you add sugar or vanilla it causes more harm.
  • Sports Drinks – They are high in sugar and acid that erode your enamel. Some drinks also have a high amount of sodium, which can tally more than a bag of potato chips.
  • Citrus – They are highly acidic and can wear away at your tooth enamel.
  • Alcohol – Reduces saliva production which can lead to dry mouth and increases your risk of gum disease.

Wow, that was a lot to take in! Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry we’ll give you three #ProTips to help you have healthy long lasting teeth and enjoy your movie. The first thing to know is saliva is your teeth’s natural protector! Saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate which strengthen your teeth. This process is called remineralization.

#ProTip 1. is MODERATION. We all know soda and snacks aren’t good for our teeth or physical health but also hard to resist. Instead of consuming the most your body can, take time and challenge yourself to follow the suggested serving size.

#ProTip 2. WATER. Carry a bottle with you at all times. Take a sip and swoosh it around to re-hydrate your mouth and flush away sugar and acid after snacking.

#ProTip 3. ORAL HYGIENE. Remember to brush twice a day and floss daily. Also, make sure to visit your dentist every 6 months for your check-up because without a true exam you don’t know what’s hiding in or around your pearly whites!

Life Smiles Dental Care

La Jolla: 858-455-7777
Chula Vista: 619-482-5555
El Cajon: 619-441-8000

Be A Breath Of Fresh Air This Holiday Season

It’s the season to get together! Do you always avoid one family member because their breath stinks? Or do people avoid you? Either way, nobody wants to be “that” person at gatherings. As time goes on, people don’t forget who the culprit is. Don’t let it be you!

Typically, we all wake up with bad breath because there is no constant saliva flow as we sleep. Saliva helps wash away bacteria growth. A reminder to why we brush and floss before we go to bed and when we wake up.

Did you know that over 40 million people in the U.S have bad breath? Most of the time you aren’t able to smell your own breath! Because of the embarrassment, often times we don’t mention it when we smell others breath.

What is Bad Breath?

It’s your oral bacteria which are living, eating, and breeding organisms. You know how all living things need food and needs to dispose of it? That’s what is happening in your mouth! Use this as motivation to start a better dental routine!

What Causes Bad Breath?

  • Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diet

The worst cause is smoking because it reduces saliva flow. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. It is your mouth’s natural defense and without it, plaque and bacteria build up faster. Certain drinks like alcohol and coffee dry your mouth out as well. Sugary foods and drinks are bacteria’s favorite, it helps them grow/multiply faster. It’s important to brush and floss to help prevent plaque build-up.

You might want to keep a closer eye on your tongue as well. Your tongue doesn’t have a smooth surface; food debris, bacteria, and dead cells can be trapped there. Over time, a coating forms across and as it gets thicker, your odor becomes stronger.

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This year, don’t be the one with the breath that clears a room! Have a solid oral hygiene routine, a good one that includes dental cleanings every six months! If you are stuck on what to bring for your gathering try peppermint bark. It’s a nice breath refresher for anyone that needs it!

Pro Tip: Use dark chocolate chips – it’s good for your teeth (in moderation)!

If you are questioning, “How in the world is dark chocolate good for my teeth?” The answer is dark chocolate contains polyphenols which helps fight the growth of bacteria in your mouth, reducing risk of tooth decay. It can also offset bad breath!

Have a great holiday season!

Life Smiles Dental Care

La Jolla: 858-455-7777
Chula Vista: 619-482-5555
El Cajon: 619-441-8000