Dental emergencies happen to everyone at some point, and usually are more annoying than worrisome -- after all, it only takes a quick second out of your day to get to the dentist to get your tooth looked at, if not fixed the same day. But what about dental emergencies during the holidays? Whether your emergency comes from the slightly stale bar nuts on Saint Patrick's Day, a jawbreaker cleverly disguised as a jelly bean on Easter, or a sneaky chicken bone on Independence Day, you need dental relief fast -- so here's what you need to know.
You're Not Alone -- So Plan Accordingly
Like stress levels and aspirin sales, visits to the dentist tend to increase on or immediately after the holidays -- especially the day after Saint Patrick's Day. If you're planning on heading over to the nearest open dentist's office in between the fruitcake and the dyed eggs, you might want to call ahead and make sure that a dentist has time to see you. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in a waiting room with a bunch of other miserable people, all waiting for the (now harried) dentist to fix their teeth.
Treat It On The Way
Once you've found a relatively empty office to take you (and someone sober to drive, just in case you need anesthesia), it's time to get in the car and go. But if you're worried about wait time, or if the office is a bit away, you're going to want to start treating your emergency before putting the pedal to the metal. If you have a tooth in your hand that should be in your mouth, make sure to keep it wet -- wrapping it in a damp towel is a good move, putting it in a cup of milk is even better -- and rise your mouth gently with warm water.
If the tooth is cracked or broken in some way, take out some ice and wrap it in a thin towel, holding it against the affected area to keep the swelling down. And if you can't see any damage, but it's just killing you, rinse, floss, and avoid putting any aspirin on top of the tooth or gum -- it can actually hurt more than it helps.
Play It Safe
This is about the time you'll want to pop some pain pills -- but think carefully first. If you've been drinking, some ibuprofen is going to do a lot more harm than good. Make sure to let your dentist know what medicine you've taken when you lay down in the chair -- mixed drinks are one thing, but mixed medicines (even over the holidays) are another ball game entirely.