By Debra S. Lowe, D.M.D.
Summer is here! We know you are excited to get out and enjoy the warmth, sunshine, family, and friends. And in the process you want to feel and look your best at all the gatherings and activities.
Your health has a big influence over how you come across. Your smile is up front and personal. It’s the first impression. You want it to be bright, clean, and fresh (as in breath). Get your smile in tip-top shape by visiting your dentist for preventative maintenance and work that needs to be done for healthy, bright teeth and gums.
Practice good daily oral hygiene by brushing 2 minutes a day and flossing at least once a day. And yes, technique is as important as frequency, or you are just spinning your wheels, and getting nowhere toward the optimum health benefits. To be sure you are doing it correctly, ask your hygienist to show you the correct method.
It is important to use protection against the ill effects of too much sun exposure. The lips are very vulnerable to damage by ultraviolet rays. Be sure to use a lip moisturizer with sunscreen and reapply often. Wide brimmed hats also help.
Physical activities and sports can be dangerous for teeth. We recommend custom fit mouthguards made by a dental professional. Custom fit guards are more comfortable. Some come in cool colors or graphics, making it fun for kids to wear. They also offer the correct thickness that helps to decrease the forces that can cause concussions when the jaw takes a hit. Teeth are more protected against breakage in case of hits or falls. The teeth are less likely to get avulsed (the incident where a tooth traumatically falls out partially or totally, with the entire root*).
*On this note, should you or your child experience an avulsion of a permanent tooth, it is important to replace the tooth within 90 minutes—the sooner the better!
If partially avulsed, push it back in place. Yes, it will take a lot of force, but only a few seconds.
If it is totally out, gently clean it off under running water. DO NOT rub the root, just wash off the dirt, if any. Within 5 minutes, place it in the socket and apply force while stabilizing the head; insert it all the way into the socket. Hold in place for 5 minutes.
See your dentist on the first available day. Avulsed teeth when quickly re-inserted, have a high success rate, but may need a root canal in the future. If you can’t replace the tooth by yourself within a few minutes, DO NOT let it dry out. Soak it in the person’s saliva or milk and get to the dentist or ER within 90 minutes of the original incident.
Re-implantation is critical, plus, one should be examined for a broken jaw, cracked tooth, or jaw joint trauma.
A cracked, chipped, or broken tooth may or may not be an immediate dental emergency. However, call your dentist for the proper course of action. Most teeth suffering from trauma will be sensitive for a bit from the “bruise.” If it is pink or you can see pink tissue sticking out in the fractured area, it will need to be addressed.
Summers get busy! Have a great, enjoyable, and safe season while taking care of yourself and loved ones. Most of all, smile with confidence!
If we can be of help, please do not hesitate to call us. We will help you get ready and stay ready for the fun!!
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