How to handle hazardous holiday goodies

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Here’s what to do when the joy of the season bites back

By Dr. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD, Columnist, The Times

utstephcollogoIt’s that time of year again, we run around, stressing over the perfect gift for that special someone. Then we bake. We eat plenty of holiday treats, sometimes those delicious morsels, bite us back.

The Holiday Guide to Dental Emergencies.

Infection – If you have pain, redness or swelling contact your dentist.

Toothaches – clean your mouth by rinsing vigorously with warm water. Never put aspirin on the gum next to the tooth – this will cause a burn.   Avoid foods that are extremely hot or cold and stay away from very sweet choices. Use an over-the-counter pain reliever until you can see your dentist. Never use someone else’s medication.

Lost Filling – Rinse the area and use a temporary filling product from the drugstore or use sugar free gum as a patch. This will protect the tooth from sweets and extreme temperatures. If the tooth is sensitive, fill the cavity with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Loose crown (or temporary crown) – Bring the loose crown with you to the dentist, many times the crown can be re-cemented. If the tooth is sensitive fill the crown with toothpaste or denture adhesive and place it back over the tooth. Do not use superglue. Be sure to see the dentist for a more permanent repair. If you are wearing a temporary crown or bridge, stay away from very sticky foods.

Knocked out tooth – Sometimes those new toys under the tree can cause havoc. If a tooth is knocked out, Rinse the tooth gently (do not scrub off any tissue). Placing the tooth back in the socket is the best choice. If the tooth will not go back in place then place it in milk. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth the less likely it will reattach. Find a dentist immediately.

Broken tooth – Teeth can break for a variety of reasons. If the broken tooth is accompanied by trauma to the lip or tongue, a trip to the emergency room might be indicated.   If a tooth breaks without any warning, chances are it had a crack in it previously. These breaks may or may not have some sensitivity associated with them. Avoid excessive chewing and see your dentist as soon as reasonably possible. Don’t eat the fruitcake.

While emergencies can happen anytime, knowing what to do and how to handle them can make it less likely to ruin the holiday.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Dr. Stephanie McGann, who has more than two decades of dental practice experience, is a resident of the Unionville area and along with her partner, Dr. Marie Scott, operates The Brandywine Smile Center, a family-friendly dental practice in Concordville. Dr. McGann has opened a new practice in Valley Township, Rainbow Valley Dental. She is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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