6 Quick Fixes For The Most Common Dental Emergencies

You have a dentist appointment tomorrow. You have a date tonight. You just had a blueberry smoothie before an important meeting. You broke a tooth. Whatever the dental emergency – here’s how to deal.

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A red-headed woman holds her mouth in shock
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Dental Emergency: “I have a dentist appointment tomorrow!”

Sure, you want to make a good impression. But if you haven’t been the best brusher, flosser or mouthwash user lately, we have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad. Your dentist and your hygienist will see the lack of effort in your mouth. “A healthy mouth doesn’t happen overnight,” says Toronto dentist Dr. Janet Tamo, Crest and Oral-B Smile Council member, a program that brings together dentists to help educate the public on oral health care. She tells us that a proper daily oral care routine includes doing these things daily: brushing twice, flossing at least once, using a stannous fluoride toothpaste (found in Crest Pro-Health), and avoiding sugar-laden and/or acidic foods. And if you don’t, it’s obvious. But don’t give up before your dentist appointment. The good new is that there are still things you can do to make a good impression.

  • Switch from manual to power toothbrush for a better clean.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva.
  • Drink with a straw to protect teeth.
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smiling woman putting on red lipstick
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Dental Emergency: “I have a date tonight. How can I brighten my smile stat?”

It used to be that a whitening treatment would take multiple days or even a week before you would notice a difference. But there are now some one-time treatments at the drug store that can help for this type of situation – when you need white teeth, fast. Also, to avoid staining your new smile, watch what you eat and drink, like curry and red wine. And if you do have red wine, make sure you have a piece of cheese with it, “to balance out the acid,” she says.

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woman eating popcorn at the movies
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Dental Emergency: “I’m at the movies and a popcorn kernel broke my tooth!”

The first thing to do is to stop eating the popcorn and avoid chewing on that side of the mouth until you get in to see a dentist. “Continue to brush and floss as normal, do not stop cleaning that area. If you are having pain, take Advil or Tylenol according to package directions,” says Tamo.

And tomorrow morning, call your dentist to make an appointment right away.

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woman at her computer drinking a blueberry smoothie
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Dental Emergency: “I just had a blueberry smoothie and now I have an important meeting!”

High fives for your healthy-eating efforts. But blueberries (most berries, for that matter) stain teeth immediately. Tamo says that the natural sugars and acidity in berries can cause not only stains, but also enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity. But hindsight is 20-20, so here are three options for what you can do now to avoid talking to clients or colleagues with your blue mouth.

  • Brush your teeth and floss, if you can.
  • Chew sugar-free gum.
  • Rinse with a glass of water.
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woman who is wincing with pain from a toothache
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Dental Emergency: “My tooth is killing me.”

You might have a cavity. So, call your dentist right away. And to deal with the pain, take an ibuprofen or an acetaminophen. Continue to clean your teeth vigilantly, until your appointment, “brushing at least two times a day for a full two minutes, flossing every day and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash,” says Tamo.

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Smiling woman walking down the street with her purse

Dental Emergency Lessons

Since April is Oral Health Month we thought it would be helpful to offer a list of teeth-friendly products to keep in your purse or desk, so the next time you have an emergency, you won’t panic.

  • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Dental picks or floss
  • Travel-size pain relief
  • Your dentist’s emergency number

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