You know what the dentist tells you every time you visit: You need to floss more and brush gently. But sometimes your day is busy, you crash right into bed, and you don’t think twice about brushing. This can catch up with you, though. You don’t really worry about your teeth until something is wrong with them, and then it can be a painful day! Don’t wait until the emergency strikes to see the tooth doctor; catch the warning flags early so you can take care of your teeth right away.
Swollen Mouth and Bad Toothache
If you have a toothache, you may need to see the dentist, but you can take some precautionary steps first. Rinse out your mouth thoroughly and floss carefully to make sure you’ve removed any food that may be lodged there. If there is significant swelling, put a cold compress against your face (padded with a towel, so it’s not too cold, of course) and go see the dentist immediately.
Missing or Chipped Teeth
If you get a tooth knocked out, it’s possible that your dentist can put it back in. It’s important, therefore, to find your tooth, rinse it off, and try to put it back in (without using any force!) If you can see the dentist within an hour of getting your tooth knocked out, it’s possible that it can be saved. As you’re traveling to the dentist, keep the tooth in place, if possible, and if not, keep it in a small container filled with milk. If you have just chipped or broken your tooth, the same rules apply: save the pieces, in case your dentist can replace them, and get to the dentist immediately. If there is any blood or swelling, use gauze and a compress.
Problems with Braces
If you discover problems with yours or your child’s braces, you need to see the tooth doctor soon as well. Don’t try to cut broken wires; instead, just cushion the ends with a soft material like a pencil eraser or orthodontic wax. Save loose brackets or bands so your orthodontist can reposition and re-glue them or replace them.