For dentists, this is one of the busiest times of the year in our offices. We are seeing patients who want to maximize their insurance benefits for the year which is drawing to a close. We are seeing patients who are already stressing out about the once-a-year relatives that will be visiting and grinding their teeth so much that their jaws hurt. There are also people who are enjoying the holiday treats that are so delicious, but can either break a tooth or pull a crown off because they are hard, sticky or both! (The particular sweet I am thinking of is a nougat type of candy.) Last, but not least, there are those holiday-related emergencies, like the time my brother, as a toddler, thought the Christmas tree ornament looked like a shiny golden apple and took a bite out of it! That was a mouth full of cuts and abrasions, and an oral disaster.
Now if you read this blog about two months ago, I suggested that one way to prepare for this Season of Sugar was to visit your dentist early to head off any dental problems or emergencies. Well, too late now for that. But, I do have some ideas for how you can still prepare yourself to stay dentally safe and sound and maintain your oral health during this time of year.
1. Prepare yourself a dental emergency kit! This is simple to do by strolling down the dental care aisle at your local pharmacy. This kit can include a few Q-tips, temporary filling material, and temporary dental cement. The product I usually recommend for temporary fillings is called Dent Temp. I have had many patients use this with great success. The Q-tips could be used for pressing the material into a tooth if needed if a filling falls out. Both products have directions on them that are easy to follow.
2. The best over the counter pain medication for tooth pain is Ibuprofen. If you do encounter a toothache, do not put an aspirin on the gum ( a common misconception). Try taking an appropriate dose of Ibuprofen. Also do not aggravate the sensitive tooth with very hot or very cold foods or drinks.
3. Even with all the holiday preparations, parties, and busy schedules, be sure to stick to your daily oral hygiene routine. Include toothbrushes ,toothpaste and floss in the stocking stuffers! Many companies put out holiday edition product packaging that is so festive you don’t even have to wrap it. Be sure to include other extra dental things like a bag of flossers, proxy brushes and toothpaste tube squeezers ( that squeeze all the paste to one end – they are great!)
We can all take a lesson from the children’s holiday movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
Remember the Abominable Snowman? He suffered from a terrible toothache and had to have Hermey the Elf pull his teeth.
Don’t have an abominable holiday! Take care of your teeth so that you can smile your way through the season and into the new year!
Happy Holidays everyone!