How to avoid dental emergencies this holiday season

It's the holiday season, which means there are more excuses than at any other time of year to indulge in food and drink.

You might already have promised yourself that you'll watch your weight over the Christmas and New Year break, but have you given as much thought to your teeth?

Traditionally, this is the time of year when people are least likely to visit their dentist, as they're worried about interrupting their busy schedules or assume their local dental clinic is closed for business. Unfortunately, it's also the season that tends to put your oral health at the greatest risk.

What dental emergencies are common over the holiday season?

Dental emergencies don't stop just because the clinic is closed. Every year, dentists receive calls from patients whose symptoms just can't wait.

Some of the most common reasons for emergency dental appointments are:


Whether you've over-indulged on the sweet stuff or eaten food that your teeth aren't used to, it's important that you don't neglect your oral hygiene over the holidays.

Sugar in food and drink feeds the bacteria living in plaque, which cause tooth decay. If your teeth are decayed over a long period of time, plaque may already have reached the centre of your tooth and require a filling if you have a cavity.

If tooth decay is left untreated, it can develop into gum disease which puts you at risk of tooth loss and infections. Tooth decay and gum disease both need to be treated by your dentist as soon as possible.

Regular brushing and flossing are the best defence to keep dental plaque at bay. Make sure you use a fluoride toothpaste and consider using a fluoride mouthwash for extra protection over the holidays.

Damaged and knocked out teeth

From biting hard-shelled nuts such as pistachios and turkey bones to collisions with excitable kids, injuries to your teeth can cause permanent damage and even tooth loss.

Chipped, cracked and missing teeth leave your mouth vulnerable to infections. If the nerve endings are exposed, your teeth will feel more sensitive to temperature, making eating and drinking painful.

If you damage your teeth, you should visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible. You can prevent injuries to your teeth by avoiding food that is difficult to chew, checking your roast for hidden bones and never, ever opening bottles with your teeth.

Damaged dental work

If you have any dental crowns or veneers, these can also be damaged by nuts and other crunchy foods. Toffee and sticky desserts can cause fillings and brace wires to come loose, undoing any dental work and putting your oral health at risk.

If any of your dental or orthodontic work needs to be repaired or replaced, this should be done as soon as possible to prevent further injury and infection. If you keep your dental crowns clean, your dentist may even be able to reattach them.

When you follow your dentist's recommendations about what types of food and drink to avoid, your dental work should last as long as your teeth.

What if I have a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies don't have to ruin your holidays. If you need to speak to our Northern suburbs dentist at any time, call Ocean Reef Dental Surgery on (08) 9307 6700.

We allow time every business day for emergency appointments, and our dentists will make room to see you as soon as we can.