What is a Dental Emergency?

woman with toothacheNobody wants to experience a dental emergency, and that may be more true now than ever before thanks to all of the confusion and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and dental care. Don’t worry, your dentist in Sacramento and the American Dental Association (ADA) are here to help clarify what constitutes a dental emergency and what doesn’t. 

From The ADA: Classifying Dental Emergencies

The ADA classifies dental emergencies as “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection.” But what exactly does that mean? Some examples of dental emergencies provided by ADA include: 

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or soft tissue infection with swelling that potentially compromises a patient’s airway 
  • Trauma to facial bones that may obstruct an airway and make breathing difficult 
  • Tooth or jaw pain

Urgent Dental Care

The ADA also describes other dental problems that do not necessarily fit into the emergency definition above but still require immediate attention from your dentist in Sacramento. These problems are classified as urgent dental care needs and may include: 

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Third-molar pain
  • Tooth fractures with pain or soft tissue trauma
  • Post-surgery complications such as dry socket 
  • Abscess or bacterial infection with swelling
  • Knocked out tooth 
  • Lost, broken, or defective temporary restoration 
  • Cavities or decay that are causing pain

Please note, this list is not a complete list of all possible situations and symptoms. If you believe you have a dental emergency or urgent dental care need, contact your dentist to determine the next steps for your specific needs. 

What’s Not A Dental Emergency?

As of April 1, 2020, the ADA has recommended that all dental offices postpone all routine dental visits until at least April 30th. This means that there are several circumstances in which you should wait to schedule an appointment including: 

  • Routine checkups and cleanings
  • Consultations for procedures such as cosmetic dentistry
  • Follow-up appointment for treatments like tooth whitening
  • Cavities that do not cause pain
  • Extraction of teeth that are not causing pain

During these unprecedented times, please help us and your community stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and only seeing your dentist for emergency or urgent care. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and we can’t wait to see you soon. 

*Note: Recommendations for dentists and patients are changing regularly. Please check your local recommendations for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and dental care. 

What’s The Most Dangerous Sport for Teeth? (You’re Going to Be Surprised!)

kids playing lacrosseIt’s always good to get out and get some exercise. When you’re participating in any sport, your dentist in Sacramento will always remind you to protect your smile. All too often, we talk about avoiding sweets or sports drinks, food, and beverages that can damage your enamel and break down teeth. We forget about what’s happening on the field, the court, or the ice that may be putting your teeth in far greater danger than a piece of candy.

We’re going to break down the top 4 most dangerous sports for smiles. (We’re willing to bet you can’t guess what number one is… it fools a lot of folks!)

#1 – Sports That Rely on Sticks, Bats, Etc.

There’s a reason this is number one on our list. Sports involving the combination of a ball and a stick or bat are a big danger to your smile. Think about what it’s like for your teeth to be on the receiving end of a stick or a bat. Not too fun right? Some popular pastimes that fall into this category include:

– Baseball

– Hockey

– Field Hockey

– Lacrosse

– Cricket

– And More

One of the most damaging things about these sports is that athletes (we’re talking to you, hockey players) tend not to wear mouthguards. We don’t know if it’s wanting to appear tougher, etc. but it can have a significant impact on your smile and your wallet if your teeth get knocked out by a fastball or slapshot. 

(And don’t think football should be left off this list. Football players wear mouthguards for a reason, whether it’s contact or even a football to the face, there’s damage to be done on the gridiron.)

#2 – X-treme Sports

This one goes out to all of our thrill-seekers and fans of alternative-type sports. There’s certainly nothing wrong with:

– Shredding some pipe on your skateboard

– Enjoying corduroy conditions on your snowboard

– Doing some freestyle tricks on your BMX bike

You may think these sports are reserved for the pros you see killing it at the X-Games, but in all reality, they’re still pretty popular recreational activities. Sometimes you take a tumble or suffer a fall that impacts your smile. This can spell big trouble for teeth, both big and small. Your Sacramento dentist reminds dads, moms, and kids to protect your teeth with a custom sportsguard!

#3 – Boxing, MMA, Martial Arts

Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others shouldn’t be overlooked when taking teeth. On the professional level, most of these types of sports require a participant to wear some form of mouthguard or sportsguard. But that still doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen when you take a kick or a punch straight to the face.  

#4 – Basketball

Even though it’s number four on our list, basketball actually ranks at the top for being dangerous for your smile. This is simply because many players, whether on the court at the local gym or suiting up for the NBA, don’t wear a mouthguard or sportsguard. Despite how it might appear sometimes, basketball can get pretty physical, and it’s easy for an elbow to go flying and smack you right in the mouth. Players are often exerting a lot of force to gain position or control of the ball to get that game-changing shot. Believe it or not, basketball can be bad for your smile!

We hope you always give it your all, no matter what you do. Remember that it only takes a few seconds to do damage to your teeth, whether they’re broken or completely knocked out when you’re playing the sport you love. Your smile is yours for the rest of your life, so you want to make sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to protect it both on and off the field, court, or ice. 

Don’t forget to take your mouth or sportsguard with you when you’re suiting up. We want you and your smile to be part of the action for years to come. Stay safe and always remember to have fun. 

If, for whatever reason, you ever find yourself in a dental emergency, please don’t hesitate to call our Sacramento dental office right away. There’s always someone ready to listen and help you get out of pain, fast. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment for you and your smile. 

Tooth Pain Tips

woman with toothacheTooth pain can be unbearable and effect more than just the tooth alone. The whole mouth may feel the discomfort caused by a toothache, and some people also experience severe headaches. While relief may seem to be nowhere in sight, the team at our dental office in Sacramento has a few tips that you can try to relieve tooth pain.

Top Toothache Tools

Toothaches are unpredictable, and there’s really no telling when one may hit. Be prepared by knowing a few tools and tricks you can use to ease the pain.

  • Floss. A piece of floss can work wonders in relieving pain if the toothache is caused by a piece of food lodged between teeth or under gums. Gently guide the floss between the affected tooth and up under the gum line to remove any debris. Do not floss too much or too hard as this can cause more pain.
  • Cold Compress. Use an ice pack, a bag of frozen veggies, or regular old bag of ice to help reduce swelling and ease pain. Wrap your cold pack of choice in a lightweight towel or shirt and apply it to the face near where the pain is coming from. Keep it there for about 15 minutes at a time, giving yourself breaks in between icings.
  • Anesthetic. Head over to your nearest pharmacy or grocery store and pick up an over-the-counter oral anesthetic product. These gels or liquids will numb the area of application for a short time allowing you a bit of a break from the pain.
  • Salt Water. Mix some salt into warm water and gently swish it around in your mouth a tiny sip at a time. The salt will help remove any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves. Don’t swallow the solution but rather spit it out after each rinse.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medicine. Many anti-inflammatories can also help reduce tooth pain by decreasing swelling and pressure on the nerves. Choose the best option for you and use as directed. Do not follow the old wives’ tale of placing a pill directly on the gums or tooth as this can be harmful.

It’s important to note that all of these tips are to be used for temporary relief. Don’t let a toothache fester for too long. Call your dentist in Sacramento for an appointment as soon as possible.

Protect Yourself from Toothaches

Now that you know what to do if you get a toothache, we want to tell you two easy things you can do to help prevent one in the first place.

  • Visit our Sacramento dental office at least twice a year so we can monitor your oral health and treat any problems before they lead to a surprise toothache.
  • Brush your teeth every morning and every night to wash away bacteria that can lead to decay, and floss once a day to remove anything that may be lurking under the gum line.

If you’re suffering from a toothache or it’s just time for you to visit a dentist, we welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment today.  

How to Deal with Losing a Filling

woman embarrassedDental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.

Don’t Wait, Call

Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Sacramento. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.

What to Expect

Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.  

Do Your Part

If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.

  • Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
  • Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.

Avoid the Problem in the First Place

While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Sacramento dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Sacramento and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.