Avoiding Dental Emergencies During the Holidays
We don't have to tell you twice - this holiday season is like no other holiday season we've ever experienced thus far! And while your oral health is probably the last thing on your mind, we understand that no one wants a dental emergency while offices are closed for the holidays 😱. We don't know if it's something people are doing over the holidays or if it's just simply Murphy's law - but we always get a surprising number of calls the first day back from holidays. The majority of them at the time we open and a lot of them starting with, "I have a dental emergency and need to be booked in today".
While some emergencies are inevitable, there are steps you can take to minimize the probability that it'll happen to you.
A few weeks before the holidays, it's a good idea to book yourself in for cleaning and checkup. And/or take care of whatever treatment the dentist has previously recommended. This gives you ample time to identify any potential issues that might act up and give you time to patch everything up before offices close. Also, if you get treatment and it needs an adjustment or review, you will have time for that too. If you do it too close to the holiday closures, you might not be able to get another appointment for adjustment. As an example, sometimes you get a new filling or a new crown and when you bite down, it almost feels like a little shock - but it doesn't happen any other time. This may benefit from an adjustment appointment. We do test it out when you're in the dental chair getting treatment, but if you were numb at the time, you may not have felt it.
Having said that, you may want to postpone more invasive treatments - actually, we can see that there are two sides to this story. On the one hand, getting something like wisdom teeth extracted during this time can be a good thing - in that you have a few extra days to heal - where you're not going to school or working or being in a position where you have to do a lot of talking. On the other hand, you may not want to spend the holiday uncomfortable and healing and not eating - while everyone else is. Also, if complications arise, you may not want to be in a position where the dentist is not available to attend to you. So, weigh out the pros and cons yourself and see what will work best with your lifestyle - or plan wayyyyy ahead, so you have time to accommodate for reviews and follow ups.
During the holidays, you may also want to avoid biting down on hard things like popcorn and ice. This includes being super careful about eating pitted fruit and NOT using your teeth to open packages and seals. It's wise not to do this the rest of the year either, lol. And if you chew bones, it's a good idea to stop this habit - you probably wouldn't believe all the times we hear people coming in saying they were eating some chicken and bit down hard on some bones. Especially if you have existing dental restorations, don't subject them to such abuse - synthetic material is never as strong as healthy natural teeth, so lay off on biting hard things.
And if you are one to relax your dental routine during the holidays (e.g. by skipping the flossing step or skipping a night of brushing), don't! Keep it up, so you won't be surprised by unexplained discomfort. Especially if you're really enjoying a lot of sweets and treats!