Dental Problems Parents Pass Down to Children

Nature vs. Nurture: Dental Problems Parents Pass Down To Children

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Parents, in particular, want to know: does DNA predetermine dental health? It’s the classic nature vs. nurture question that dentists get asked often, but the answer doesn’t simply boil down to one or the other. The scary truth is that many dental problems are indeed “inherited”–but not from genetics alone! Harmful habits that run in the family can also play a huge role in the health of your child’s smile. Find out which oral issues you could be passing down, and what you can do about them.

DNA-Driven Dental Issues

Even before birth, the stage has already been set for certain aspects of your child’s oral health. Ultimately, your child’s genes dictate the likelihood for common issues such as:

  • Jaw-related Disorders: The size and position of one’s jaws, as well as overall facial structure, are hereditary traits that can cause a number of bite complications (or “malocclusions”). Overbites or underbites caused by uneven jaws can lead to chewing and speech difficulties, and result in chronic pain and/or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder (“TMJ”) if left untreated.
  • Tooth Misalignments: Spacing problems, either due to missing or overcrowded teeth, are oral issues that have been hardwired in a person even before the emergence of teeth. Cases where people lack some (“Anodontia”) or all (“Hypodontia”) permanent teeth can threaten gum and jaw health, as can instances of “supernumerary” teeth, in which extra teeth erupt.
  • Weak Tooth Enamel: Though rare, it is possible for tooth enamel to be defective, or develop abnormally. Dentin, which makes up the protective enamel covering of teeth, may not be produced or mineralize at normal levels, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay, sensitivity and damage.
  • Predisposition To Oral Cancer: Genetic mutations and the presence of oncogenes, a type of gene that transforms healthy cells into cancerous ones, can increase the risk for cancer by interfering with the body’s ability to metabolize certain carcinogens.

From serious conditions such as a cleft palate, to occasional aggravations like canker sores, many other oral issues may be linked to genetics. Keeping track and sharing the family’s health history with your child’s dentist can help detect and treat inherited conditions as early as possible.

Behavioral Risks

DNA may deal your child some unavoidable complications, but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease, learned habits and tendencies shoulder much more of the blame, including:

  • “Oversharing”: Harmful oral bacteria from a loved one can easily colonize and overtake your little one’s mouth from something as simple as sharing food, utensils, or kissing. The inadvertent swapping of saliva can put your child at increased risk for cavities and gingivitis.
  • Diet Choices: Satisfying that sweet tooth with sugary, refined treats, or turning to soda and juice for refreshment can create an unhealthy addiction that’s as dangerous to the mouth as it is to the waist. Sugar and acid can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Exposure to certain chemicals and ingredients can also cause discoloration.
  • Bad Hygiene: Last, but certainly not least, lacking a good dental routine can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Failing to follow through on brushing and flossing twice a day (or as recommended by the dentist) can create a haven for cavities and periodontitis, not to mention halitosis.

Leading by example is an easy, effective way to teach your child the importance of oral health while benefitting the whole family.

Stay One Step Ahead

Every parent wants the best for his or her child–including a healthy smile. With so many potential problems that can be passed down, protecting your child’s oral health is not easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the help of your child’s dentist for optimal professional and at-home dental care. Treating existing issues early on and teaching your child to make dental-friendly decisions can provide lifelong benefits to his or her health.

Sources:

CDC Oral Cancer Background Papers. (n.d.) Retrieved July 9, 2015, from http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/cdc/cdc_chapter3.php

Rondon, Nayda. (n.d.) Genetic Dental Abnormalities: Type and Symptoms. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/genetic-abnormalities/

Smokeless Tobacco Still Means Trouble

Let’s Clear The Air: Smokeless Tobacco Still Means Trouble!

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Chew it, dip it, suck it or “snuff” it–there’s no smoke involved with many forms of tobacco, but no matter how you use it, you’re still playing with fire! While cigarettes catch a lot of heat for causing lung cancer, many don’t realize that other types of nicotine use can be just as damaging to your general and oral health. Before reaching for the stuff, get a closer glimpse at what you’re really being sold and why it might be more harmful than you think.

Types of Smokeless Tobacco

Cigarettes have long dominated the market, but tobacco comes in countless shapes and sizes. Their novelty may tempt your curiosity, but just one try can put you on the path to addiction and some serious throat and mouth problems. Here are just a few examples of common smokeless tobacco products you’d be wise to avoid:

  • Chewing tobacco: loose leaves (often in pouch form) for placement inside the cheeks
  • Snuff or “Dip”: ground or shredded tobacco stored in tins for sniffing or chewing
  • Snus: a pasteurized form of snuff that doesn’t require spitting
  • Tobacco lozenges: powdery, tobacco-infused candies that dissolve in the mouth

Other variations include plugs, twists and bricks, but risks are the same regardless of their appearance. It’s also worth noting that regulations may differ by country, so the lack of clear warnings doesn’t mean that the product is any less toxic.

Oral Health Risks

Virtually every aspect of your oral health is affected by tobacco use, and it doesn’t take much for nicotine to do its damage. Telltale signs you may notice immediately include:

  • Stained teeth, from frequent contact with tobacco juice
  • Periodontitis, as prolonged exposure to tobacco can irritate the gums
  • Bad breath, when tobacco particles mix with your saliva and other food particles
  • New cavities, due to the sugar often used to sweeten tobacco products

Tooth sensitivity, enamel erosion and a decrease in your sense of taste and smell are other possible side effects. As costly as these dental complications may be, it pales in comparison to the lethal threat of cancer.

Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

Given that smokeless tobacco contains well over 20 carcinogenic chemicals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its use can result in cancer of the mouth, lip, tongue and throat (in addition to many other cancers of the body). Clear warning signs of oral cancer include white or red lesions inside the mouth (typically referred to by dentists as “leukoplakia”) that fail to heal over time, but not all symptoms are easily detected without the professional help of your dentist.

Tackling Your Tobacco Problem

Seeking professional help is your best bet both to kick your nicotine habit to the curb, as well as to prevent lasting and potentially irreversible damage to your health. Quitting tobacco use likely won’t happen overnight, but your dentist can most certainly offer guidance and point you to effective treatments and/or alternatives. Although it may be difficult to share your struggles, being open about the problem with your dentist and seeing him or her frequently is critical to minimizing the risk for oral cancer and other serious health problems.

Sources:

It may be smokeless, but it’s still tobacco. (2011 May). Retrieved July 22, 2015, from https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/smokelesstobacco.html

Katz, Harold. (2011, March 5). Chewing Tobacco Can Cause Bad Breath, and Worse. Retrieved July 14, 2015,from http://www.therabreath.com/articles/news/oral-care-industry-news/chewing-tobacco-can-cause-bad-breath-and-worse-3329.asp

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, November 15). Chewing Tobacco: Not Safer than Cigarettes. Retrieved July 16, 2015,from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/in-depth/chewing-tobacco/art-20047428?pg=1

5 Ways to Maximize Your Dental Benefits Plan

With terms like PPO, HMO, in-network, and out-of-network to describe dental benefits, it’s no surprise that many don’t understand how to make the most of their plan. This means you may be overlooking benefits that are critical to maintaining your oral health.

Don’t settle for just what you understand as part of your coverage. Read on for 5 simple tips to take advantage of everything your plan has to offer.

Tip #1: Take Time to Understand Your Plan

The best way to take advantage of your plan is to ensure you know the type of plan it is and its deductibles, copayments, and annual maximums.

There are two main types of dental plans:

    • HMO Plans – With an HMO, you’ll be required to choose a dentist in your primary network to handle most of your needs. You are charged a relatively low co-payment for office visits, procedures, etc. There is no coverage if you visit an out-of-network provider. HMOs typically have no deductible or maximum.
  • PPO Plans – With a PPO, you have the option to see both in-network and out-of-network providers, but coverage is better if you stay in network. Once you hit your deductible, you are reimbursed for a percentage of office visits, procedures, etc. The percentage may vary depending on the treatment and is much higher if you see an in-network dentist.

Key things to understand about your plan are its:

    • Deductible – The dollar amount you must pay for covered services prior to claiming benefits under your plan.
    • Copayment – A fixed dollar amount you must pay when you visit your dentist. Some plans with copayments don’t have a deductible whereas others may have both.
  • Annual Maximum – The maximum amount a plan will pay for dental care for an individual or family during a specific benefit period (often, benefit periods last for 12 months).

Tip #2: Take Advantage of All Benefits Covered Under Your Plan

In addition to understanding the basics of your plan, it is important to explore all of the associated benefits.

Most individuals are aware of and will use diagnostic and preventative services for professional cleanings every 6 months. These services are often covered in full by HMO plans and between 80% and 100% by PPO plans.

However, there are other benefits that should be included both in your plan booklet and online. These benefits may cover restorative care (like fillings), major restorative care (like crowns and bridges), as well as orthodontic care. By doing your research, you can determine what procedures are covered, what limitations each procedure has, and if there are any exclusions.

Tip #3: Use a Dentist in Your Network

One of the most significant challenges for many individuals is determining whether or not a dentist is in their network. This can be particularly difficult for plans that have multiple networks because dentists may participate in all or some of them.

If you choose a dentist that is out of your network, the amount of insurance coverage you receive for your treatments will vary. As such, seeing an in-network dentist allows you to maximize your benefits.

Coverage will differ if you go out of network on either type of dental plan:

    • HMO Plans – If you visit a dentist other than your primary or a referred specialist, your services won’t be covered (even if that dentist is also in your network).
  • PPO Plans – PPO plans allow you to visit any licensed dentist and you will still be covered. However, choosing a dentist in your network offers top savings (allowing you to maximize your benefits and coverage).

Tip #4: Control Expenses with Treatment Plans

To maximize your benefits, it is best to schedule treatments in advance to align with your annual maximum. In many cases, you can strategically plan multi-stage treatments with your dental professional to minimize your costs as much as possible. Of course, it is also important to be prepared for unforeseen dental emergencies.

Tip #5: Track Claims and Remaining Benefits

Track claims as you receive treatment so you are aware of when you are approaching your annual maximum. After each appointment, review your treatment summary to see what your carrier covered. Then, subtract this amount from your annual maximum to calculate your remaining coverage for the given benefit period.

Get What You Pay for by Maximizing Your Benefits

You sign up for dental insurance for the benefits and you should receive what you paid for. By utilizing each of the tips above, you can make the most of all your benefits and keep your smile looking great.


Sources:

10 Tips to Maximize Dental Benefits. (2014, February 14). Retrieved July 2, 2015 from https://www.dentalinsurance.com/blog/?post_type=resources&p=1554

Maximizing a dental benefits plan: 6 easy tips. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from https://www.deltadentalins.com/administrators/guidance/maximizing-a-dental-benefits-plan.html

Bye-Bye, Buck Teeth! How to Overcome an Overbite

“Overbite”, “overjet” or simply “buck teeth”– protruding teeth can go by many names, but “pretty” isn’t one of them. And they aren’t comfortable either; upper teeth that extend well past the lower teeth can often make it difficult to close the mouth, chew or speak easily.

It’s a common condition, but not one that people have to live with. In fact, there are just as many corrective methods for this dental problem as the names it has been given! If you (or a loved one) has buck teeth, get an in-depth look at what may have caused it and what you can do to prevent it from becoming a lifelong burden on your looks, oral health and self-esteem.

Causes of Buck Teeth

Buck teeth can easily be identified at a very early age, and can be due to a variety of factors including:

  • Genes: a person can inherit the problem if born with naturally uneven jaws
  • Habits: teeth can jut out after constant pacifier/thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
  • Crowded teeth: crookedness, facial injury and/or tooth abnormalities can play a role

The severity of the condition can vary from mild to extreme, and may gradually become worse over time if left untreated.

Treatment Options

Age and the depth of a patient’s overbite are two primary factors that can dictate the type of treatment an orthodontist chooses to correct the problem. New techniques are always being explored, but here are a few of the most common recommendations:

1. Braces
Whether metal, ceramic or clear, it’s a popular route many orthodontists take to fix protruding teeth. Teeth that are jutting out are straightened and forced closer in alignment with the lower jaw by tightening the braces over time.

2. Aligners
In mild cases of protruding teeth, clear, removable aligners may be a more comfortable and convenient option. Aligners use less force (and thus result in less pain) than braces and can be removed for added ease when brushing or flossing.

3. Surgery
Extreme cases in which the overbite is due to skeletal/jaw structure may require surgery. Patients who fall into this category are referred to an oral maxillofacial surgeon, and surgery usually involves pushing the maxilla bones (which form the upper jaw) behind, or moving the mandible (lower jaw) forward.

Surgery aside, the length of time it takes to achieve results is largely due to when the problem is treated. Younger patients whose jaws are still developing typically require less time to correct an overbite compared to adults whose jaws are not as malleable.

Benefits of Treatment

Even the mildest cases of overbite can reap significant benefits from professional treatment. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement is cosmetic in nature. Once treatment is complete, any bulging around the mouth disappears and patients may experience less strain in their facial muscles.

Being able to open and close the mouth more easily can also vastly improve speech, especially for those who adopted a slur or lisp due to an overbite. And last but not least, better alignment of the teeth can have a profound effect on oral health, making it easier to clean the teeth and minimize the risk of jaw-related disorders such as TMJ.

If you’ve been battling a case of buck teeth, get it fixed for good by finding an orthodontist near you.


Sources:

Beercroft, Matt. (2014, June 5). Overbite: Causes & Treatments. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.beecroftortho.com/2014/06/overbite-causes-treatments/

Orthodontic Disorders (2012). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://dentaloptionspa.com/orthodontic-disorders-aventura-fl.html

The Dirt on “Dragon Breath” And How to Slay It for Good

There’s a reason people commonly refer to halitosis as “dragon breath”: it’s a beast of an oral health problem that can put off anyone within close range! Mints and mouthwashes can mask the issue, but in order to truly defeat it, you’ll need to treat the underlying cause.

If you’ve dealt with morning breath, or struggle with bad breath throughout the day, here are some likely reasons behind it and ways to banish it once and for all.

Causes of Bad Breath

The freshness of your breath can be influenced by a number of factors, which is probably what makes it so hard to keep halitosis at bay. Perhaps the easiest way to determine the root cause (and the appropriate solution) is to ask yourself these three simple questions:

1. What have I been eating?
Not surprisingly, your food choices can have a big impact on your breath. Foods comprised of sulfur compounds in particular — such as garlic or onions — can leave a lingering odor to your breath as they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Coffee is another common culprit tied to bad breath, as it can dry out the mouth and promote the growth of oral bacteria.

2. Are certain habits to blame?
If your condition seems more chronic in nature, and you’ve ruled out your diet as a possibility, chances are poor hygiene or habits could be causing your breath to smell bad. Regardless of what you eat, bad breath is sure to follow if you fail to brush and floss regularly. Food particles stuck in hard-to-reach areas will naturally give off an odor as they decompose, as can excess oral bacteria. Smoking is also linked to halitosis, leaving a stale stench on your breath from the smoke particles you inhale and the combustion of chemical compounds.

3. Could it be a side effect of another health condition?
Sometimes, bad breath is a side effect of another health issue you may be facing — whether you know about it or not. Acid reflux, bronchitis, pneumonia, diabetes and certain liver and kidney problems are just a few conditions associated with halitosis. Sleeping disorders and/or medications that contribute to dry mouth can also inhibit saliva production essential for a healthy breath.

Overcoming Bad Breath

Identifying what’s behind your bad breath situation can help you correct and/or reverse the problem, whether it be through a diet change, habit modification or doctor-prescribed treatment plan. With so many potential causes of bad breath, however, it’s easy for halitosis to re-emerge.

For long-term prevention of bad breath, here are some suggestions:

  • Quit smoking and/or the use of other tobacco products
  • Make note of medications and consult your doctor or dentist if bad breath results
  • Steer clear of problem foods that make you self-conscious of your breath
  • Promote saliva production by drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum regularly
  • Remember to brush and floss twice a day or as directed by your dentist

Seek Help from Your Dentist

Ultimately, the most important step you can take to combat bad breath is to see your dentist on a regular basis. Frequent exams can help prevent halitosis before it starts, and if you do develop bad breath despite your best efforts to avoid it, he or she can help determine the underlying cause. Be sure to ask your dentist for more information about treating and/or preventing halitosis during your next checkup, or schedule a consultation if you have any pressing questions or concerns.


Sources:

Dental Health and Bad Breath. (2014, June 23). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/bad-breath

Dove, L. (n.d.). 10 Tips to Cure Bad Breath. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/hygiene-tips/6-tips-to-cure-bad-breath.htm

Toys for Tots Drop off at all Stellar Dental offices

All Stellar Dental Offices were a Drop Off Location for Toys for Tots.

We welcomed our Stellar Dental Family to help families in need during the holiday season…. and they came through with a successful toy collection !

 

What is Toys for Tots?

Members of the community may drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses. Coordinators pick up these toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender. At Christmas, Coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community.

Sponsored by: The United States Marine Corps Reserve

Use it or lose it! Year end is fast approaching!

The end of the year is fast approaching and schedules are filling up!

Have you made the most of your dental benefits this year?

If an unused balance remains, there’s still time to use it before you lose it!

From cleanings to cavity fillings, outstanding treatment, or even getting started on more complicated dental work, we can help you maximize your dental care benefits.

Don’t wait until it’s too late—call us today at 716-580-8021 to schedule an appointment before the holidays…. or click here to make your appointment on-line.

Margo Wade McCumber, DDS

Education and Experience
Bachelor of Arts Degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA

Graduated Cum Laude from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2008

Completed a General Practice Residency at Erie County Medical Center in 2009

Gained six years of experience as an associate at a private practice in Addison, NY, before moving to the Buffalo region and proudly joining Stellar Dental Care.

While living in the Southern Tier, I also gave back to the community where I grew up by serving as a volunteer dentist for Health Ministries of the Southern Tier where I was nominated to the Board of Directors.

Have extensive training and experience with CEREC “single visit dentistry”, utilizing the latest CAD/CAM technology to fabricate ceramic crowns using digital impressions and immediate fabrication, eliminating the need for traditional impressions, temporary crowns, and a follow-up visit.

In my spare time, enjoy time spent with my husband, Dan, and two sons exploring the Buffalo Niagara Region.

Professional Associations
The American Dental Association
The New York State Dental Association
The Eighth District Dental Society

Solving the Sweets Problem

Parent’s Cheat Sheet: 5 Steps to Solving the Sweets Problem

/Birthday celebrations, holidays, and countless school or extracurricular activities in between children’s social calendars can seem like endless fun, until you realize they can also translate into a non-stop, cavity-inducing sugar high. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that your child is destined for a long list of dental problems. Use this dental cheat sheet when a special occasion arises to keep his or her smile cavity-free.

Step 1: Set Rules

Create boundaries that can help protect your child’s oral health without cutting down on the fun, such as:

  • A sweets “allowance” that lets your child indulge, but in a limited fashion
  • Frequent drinks of water to wash sugary particles off the surface of his/her teeth
  • A full meal before dessert to fill up on nutritious foods and help curb cravings
  • “Off-limits” beverages, such as carbonated sodas or fruit juices

Keeping instructions simple, yet clear can make it easier for your child to adopt these rules without any hassle, and help him or her stick to the guidelines even if you are not present.

Step 2: Teach Your Child To Choose Wisely

Not all sweets are equally damaging to teeth, so helping your child to make smarter choices can have a big impact on the amount of sugar he or she eats. Prolonged sucking on hard candies, for instance, is one of the most harmful ways to satisfy a sweet tooth because of lengthy, direct exposure of the tooth’s surface to concentrated sugar. Likewise, sticky foods that contain ingredients such as caramel or toffee are more likely to get lodged in between teeth, and chewing on them may even result in a lost filling.

If or when possible, steer your child towards cakes and cookies instead. While these desserts are still refined carbohydrates that will break down into sugar, the amount of contact with harmful acid is significantly less than with candies and other stickier treats.

Step 3: Bring/Pack Something Nutritious

Make it easy for your child to opt for something nutritious by packing a healthy alternative. Cheese, for example, is calcium-rich and can help remineralize tooth enamel. Many manufacturers now offer single-serve packages for convenience when on the go. An apple is another tooth-healthy option when chewed, its high fiber content makes it an excellent “plaque scrubber”. Even sugar-free gum can do the trick if it contains xylitol, which can help prevent the growth of oral bacteria.

Step 4: Have Your Child Brush And Floss As Soon As Possible

Ultimately, maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective thing parents can do at home to help keep their children’s smiles healthy. If you’re always on the go, it may be worth packing a travel-sized toothbrush, but if your child forgets to brush amidst all the excitement, make sure he or she does so upon returning home.

Flossing is just as critical, and nowadays, there are many options that parents might find to be more “kid-friendly” – such as water flossers or interdental brushes. At minimum, your child should be brushing and flossing twice a day, but don’t hesitate to add another round of cleaning if he or she has had a particularly rich meal.

Step 5: See The Dentist

Last, but not least, make sure your child visits the dentist at least twice a year (or as advised by the dentist). In addition to receiving a professional cleaning, your child’s dentist can look for developing decay and gum disease, and treat it before it becomes more serious. He or she can also help ensure your child is practicing the correct brushing and flossing techniques, and provide teeth additional protection in the form of dental sealants, if need be.

Lead By Example

Perhaps the easiest way to teach your child how to protect his or her teeth is to lead by example – and doing so not only benefits him or her, but your oral health as well! Follow these tips together with your child, and consult with your child’s dentist for additional ways you can make dental care a simple and even fun experience for your child.


Sources:

Delta Dental Names Best and Worst Halloween Treats for Kids. (2013, October 31). Retrieved July 22, 2015, from https://www.deltadental.com/Public/NewsMedia/NewsReleaseBestWorstHalloweenTreats201310.jsp

SanFilippo, Elizabeth. (n.d.). Kid’s Healthy Teeth During The Holidays. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/article/sw-281474979252016

Common Teeth Crises

Dental 911: How to Handle Common Teeth Crises

Dental nightmares can come true, as much as you hope it doesn’t happen to you! If you’re lucky, a quick call to the dentist can get you seen immediately, but what happens if disaster strikes when the office is closed, you’re traveling, or some other less than ideal scenario? Find out how you can help manage the situation until you get the professional care you need.

What to Do If…

You have a fractured or broken tooth:

First, check your tooth to assess the level of damage. Often, chipping or light cracking — which are typically minor and require minimal treatment, if any — can be confused with more serious tooth damage. But should you find that the crack looks deep, or your tooth has broken into pieces, you may be at risk for an infection and tooth loss. Using warm water, rinse the area clean, and apply a cold compress if you notice any facial swelling. See your dentist as soon as you can.

Your tooth gets knocked out:

No ifs, ands or buts about it — having a tooth dislodged qualifies as an emergency. Time is of the essence when it comes to your chances of saving the tooth, so contact your dentist immediately. To help protect the tooth until you get to the office, rinse it very gently in water, taking care to avoid touching the root. If possible, try to keep the tooth in its original place by gently biting on gauze or a tea bag or under your tongues. Otherwise, place the tooth in a little bit of milk to help preserve it. Never store the tooth in water.

You have a severe toothache:

Even the mildest and most fleeting of toothaches shouldn’t be overlooked, but extremely painful and persistent cases need immediate attention and could be a sign of an exposed nerve or tooth infection. To avoid aggravating the tooth any further, clear the problem area of food particles as best as you can by flossing gently and rinsing with warm water.

Your braces come loose:

It may not sound so dire, but braces that come undone can be more than just aggravating. The wires are sharp enough to get stuck in your sensitive cheeks, gum and mouth if they come free. Avoid getting poked by covering the pointed end with cotton, gauze or beeswax. Try not to pull on the wire to avoid further complications.

You get something stuck between your teeth:

Using your teeth to rip open packaging or chewing on a pen or pencil (all of which are dental no-no’s) can cause small objects to get wedged between your teeth. While it may cause discomfort, don’t reach for something sharp to dislodge it — doing so could damage your enamel and gums. Try flossing it out instead. In the event that does not work, play it safe and have your dentist remove it.

Preventative Care and Other Precautionary Measures

As dreadful as these dental emergencies sound, it’s simple to help safeguard your smile from such problems. To minimize the chance of oral trauma from occurring, follow these safety tips:

  • Wear a mouth guard when playing sports or engaging in extremely physical activities
  • Avoid eating overly hard foods, and cut food into bite-size pieces when possible
  • Use scissors to open bags or boxes, not your teeth
  • Keep objects out of your mouth, or try sugar-free gum if you have an urge to chew

Seeing your dentist regularly is also critical to detecting and treating minor problems before they become worse. Get a checkup at least every six months or as advised by your dentist.


Sources:

Dental Emergency Procedures Can Help Save a Tooth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Dental-Emergencies/Dental-Emergencies/article/Dental-Emergency-Procedures-Can-Help-Save-a-Tooth.cvsp

Fractured and Broken Teeth. (2012, April 30). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Dental-Emergencies/Dental-Emergencies/article/Fractured-and-Broken-Teeth.cvsp?cid=ppc_gg_nb_stan_awareness+-+dental+emergencies_broad&kw=dental+emergencies&gclid=CPuk4I6A58UCFZY2aQod6l8AvA

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies. (2008). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.deltadentalco.com/uploadedFiles/Wellness/DentalEmergencies040513_web.pdf