Handling Dental Emergencies: Your Guide to Quick Relief

Stop the Ache Now!

Dental issues might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to emergencies. However, dental emergencies can occur unexpectedly and often require immediate attention to alleviate pain, prevent further damage, and ensure oral health. If you believe you are experiencing a dental emergency call Sound Dental at 252-247-6704.

Understanding Dental Emergencies:

Dental emergencies include a variety of critical dental issues that demand prompt professional assistance. Severe toothaches, knocked-out or broken teeth, lost fillings, broken braces, and other emergencies can occur. Recognizing the signs of a dental emergency is crucial to initiate timely action and minimize potential complications.

Immediate Steps to Take:

When confronted with a dental emergency, it’s essential to stay calm and take immediate steps to mitigate pain and prevent further damage. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm water, floss gently to remove any food particles, and apply a cold compress to the affected area for temporary relief.
  • Knocked-Out Tooth: If a tooth is completely knocked out, keep the tooth moist in milk or a tooth preservation kit and seek dental help immediately.
  • Fractured Tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling, and visit a dentist as soon as possible.
  • Lost Filling or Crown: Use dental cement, which can be purchased at a local pharmacy, to temporarily cover the exposed area until you can visit a dentist.

Seeking Professional Dental Care:

While the initial steps mentioned above provide temporary relief, it is essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist promptly. Dental professionals are trained to handle emergencies and can provide the necessary treatment to alleviate pain, prevent infection, and restore oral health. Delaying professional care can lead to more significant problems and complications down the line.

Prevention and Preparedness:

Although dental emergencies are unexpected, you can take preventive measures to minimize the risk. Maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, and visit a dentist for routine check-ups. Additionally, wearing mouthguards during physical activities and avoiding chewing on hard objects can help reduce the likelihood of dental injuries.

Dental emergencies can be distressing, but knowing how to handle them can make a significant difference in protecting your oral health. By understanding common dental emergencies, taking immediate steps to alleviate pain, seeking professional care promptly, and practicing preventive measures, you can minimize the impact of these situations. Remember, in any dental emergency, always consult a dentist for the best course of action. Stay prepared, stay calm, and prioritize your dental well-being.

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What is Biofilm?

Biofilm Basics: What They Are, How They Form, and Why They Matter

The mouth contains a complex microbial ecosystem or system of microbiomes, that can both help and harm teeth. Biofilm, which plaque is an example of, is any collection of microorganisms that cling to each other and a surface.  It’s impossible to completely remove bacteria or eliminate microbiomes from the mouth. However, as in any ecosystem, there is a balance that is necessary to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Good oral hygiene habits, healthy choices, and a balanced diet are our way of maintaining that equilibrium so that more dangerous and harmful bacteria are reduced and kept in check.

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Oral Hygiene and Biofilm

Oral biofilms can line your mouth and teeth, functioning as a protective barrier. The good bacteria can help maintain a healthy balance in your oral microbiome and prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria. If good hygiene habits aren’t maintained then plaque, and the microbiome it contains, can harden and grow. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. After oral surgeries in particular there is a risk of infection if good habits aren’t maintained. For this reason, twice daily brushing, regular flossing, and using mouthwash are critical.

Since teeth make up a relatively small part of the overall surface area inside the mouth using an anti-bacterial mouthwash is a great way of fighting back harmful oral bacteria. By regularly brushing you force the biofilm and bacteria in your mouth to regenerate and prevent it from growing out of control.

Diet and Bacteria

Too much sugary food, or improper hygiene after consuming sugary food, can feed bacteria. Sugar is a sort of fuel for certain harmful bacteria present in your mouth. This is why candy, soda, and other sugary foods and drinks are associated with causing cavities. Similarly, too many acidic foods can throw off the oral microbiome and fuel harmful bacteria.

Healthy Choices and the Oral Microbiome

Certain habits and behaviors like smoking or nicotine use can also throw off the oral microbiome. Nicotine usage can cause dry mouth which reduces saliva which naturally helps keep the mouth at equilibrium. Additionally, a thin film can form on teeth from smoking and vaping that can trap excess bacteria. Chewing tobacco similarly can fuel particular types of bacteria.

Regular dental checkups and examinations for more serious issues are also a crucial part of maintaining good overall oral health. At Sound Dental we are happy to help new clients learn about good oral hygiene. Request an appointment or call us today at 252-247-6704.

Is Water Flossing Better Than String Flossing?

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Water flossers or water picks, technically an oral irrigator, if you’re asking, are increasingly popular, but are they effective? Only 32% of adults floss daily, so there is absolutely a need for an easier way to clean between teeth. Going without daily flossing, or some form of interdental cleaning, leaves all of those people, most of us, at serious risk of gum disease. So lets find out if water picks live up to the hype.

Are Water Flossers Better Than String Floss?

Water flossers seem to be very effective according to current research. A 2013 study on the effectiveness of water flosserscompared to string floss found that water flossers were “significantly” more effective than string floss. Specifically, they found that after a single use water flossers were 29% more effective at removing plaque. They were particularly better at removing plaque and accumulations from between teeth, and that’s most of why we floss isn’t it?

Something that may be worth considering is that one of the authors of the 2013 study, Deborah Lyle, was employed by the Waterpik corporation from May 2004 until January 2022 as their Director of Clinical Research. Waterpik’s page for clinical research about water flossers lists many studies that include Deborah Lyle as a contributor.

However, other researchers were involved, and other studies exist that point to the effectiveness of water flossers. A 2021 study on the effectiveness of water flossers compared to string floss is an example, though they did not have such strong conclusions as the 2013 Deborah Lyle study did. They found instead that water flossers were just as effective as string floss, not more so. That is why they recommended water flossers to those with braces, retainers or who have fine motor skill issues.

So, water flossers do seem to work and could potentially replace string floss or floss picks in your oral health routine. But are they superior to string floss? They might be, but considering, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to knock yourself if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon just yet.

Are There Any Downsides to Water Flossers?

While great at cleaning your teeth, there are a few things to consider before you run out and get one. Water flossers can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, according to a 2021 study. Put simply, because water flosser heads touch your mouth and stay wet, oral bacteria can grow on it. Even in spite of following provided cleaning recommendations. That’s not all, this study limited itself to studying only the nozzle, not the hose or water reservoir itself. So while trying to clean your mouth there is the possibility that you could be spraying your teeth with bacteria.

It’s no secret that tooth brushes can be a source of illness and can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. However, proper storage and sanitary precautions, even ones as simple as rinsing your tooth brush and letting it dry, have been shown to reduce bacteria considerably. Allowing it to dry is crucial and would be much more time consuming to practice with a water flosser. Because a water flosser is a reservoir of water with an attached hose it seems proper cleaning would require draining it and it’s components and allowing them to dryafter each use, at minimum. Certainly more time consuming than standard care and cleaning instructions have you to think is necessary for proper use.

Besides cleanliness, it’s also worth considering that no one is likely to travel with a water flosser. That just means that you’ll need to keep using string floss for overnight stays. That is to say, even if you get a water flosser, don’t throw out all your old string floss. You’ll still need it if you intend to keep up a daily hygiene routine.

If I Get One, What’s The Best Water Flosser? 

The ADA, the American Dental Association, has an approved list of water flossers. The ADA only allows its seal to be used on products which “include data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy according to product category requirements developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs”. The ADA is one of the largest professional organizations for dentists meaning that any product bearing the ADA seal can be reasonably trusted. If you are considering trying a water flosser we strongly encourage you to factor the ADA’s recommendations into your decision.

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What Does Flossing do?

Oral Hygiene Tips From Sound Dental

Flossing prevents gingivitis, or gum disease, by preventing the build-up of plaque on and between your teeth. Plaque is a form of biofilm a sticky bacteria that if left unchecked can cause serious harm to your teeth by causing cavities, decay, and even risking infections if you have an oral injury.

Flossing can also prevent halitosis, or bad breath, by removing excess food particles from your mouth. Some bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth also cause bad breath if left unchecked. The American Dental Association recommends flossing, stating that it can remove the vast majority of plaque. By flossing you prevent the bacteria from growing and spreading to the point where it can smell. Much of the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath will also feed on food stuck in your teeth.

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Some people might feel like they already have oral health issues or that since they’ve neglected flossing so far, so there’s no reason to start now. But the truth is that there is never a point where starting good oral hygiene habits won’t help. 

The long-term effects of allowing bacteria to grow are serious and can range from cavities to gum disease and eventually lost teeth and bone loss. Losing bone from your jaw is a serious and effectively irreversible consequence of long-term oral health neglect. But preventive maintenance, including flossing, can greatly reduce the risk of any of these problems.   

Tips for Effective Flossing

A study published in a journal by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that flossing before brushing is the most effective. This is particularly true when using toothpaste that contains fluoride. 

Traditional string flossing has also been shown to be more effective than pick-style flossers. However, the most effective form of flossing is what works for you and will make you more likely to floss. While we might recommend that you try to floss the old-school way, the most important thing is that you figure out a style and routine for flossing that you’re able to maintain.

 

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How to Remove Tobacco Stains From Teeth

 Tobacco’s Toll on Your Teeth and Gums

Teeth stains and other oral health issues such as tooth decay or gum disease are common problems for nicotine users regardless of whether they use e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars. Tobacco stains, and all stains from nicotine use, can be hard to remove. Often teeth stains can set into the deeper layers of the teeth so they are resistant to typical whitening methods. The effectiveness of any teeth whitening method will depend on its strength and how deeply set into the teeth the stains or discolorations are.

Options For Removing Tobacco Stains From Teeth

  • At-home whitening. Using at-home whitening methods such as toothpaste that contains baking soda, whitening mouthwashes, and over-the-counter whitening strips can all help whiten teeth. However, most at-home options won’t be able to affect deeper, older stains.
  • Professional whitening. In-office whitening treatments use much higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide than are available or advisable for at-home use. That’s why professional treatments are the best way to remove tobacco stains or any nicotine stains from teeth. At Sound Dental we often perform teeth whitening treatments that use lights that speed up treatments alongside a protective cover for the gums to reduce irritation.

Preventing Further Tobacco Staining

  • Rinsing and staying hydrated. Rinsing your mouth with water after using tobacco or nicotine is an easy way to reduce some of the risks of stains. Nicotine use often reduces saliva production which allows bacteria to thrive. By staying hydrated and reducing leftover residue from tobacco use the risk of staining goes down.
  • Good oral health habits. Brushing twice a day and regularly flossing are the two pillars of good oral health. If you are currently or have previously used tobacco or nicotine products maintaining good habits is even more important.

Kick the Habit, Save Your Smile

While there are ways to remove stains damage to gums is harder to correct. Oral tobacco use such as dipping pouches or loose tobacco will have a significant impact on the health of gums with regular use. Nicotine use reduces saliva which increases bacteria growth, increasing the risk of cavities and infections. The best way to prevent further staining, damage, and other negative effects is to reduce and end tobacco use.

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Additional Resources

Tobacco – Center for Disease Control 

American Cancer Society

Sound Dental

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