Keeping smiles happy when family comes to town

Posted on December 14, 2018 in General oral health

If you're hosting holiday celebrations at your place, add a little prep time to ensure your family's smiles stay sparkling – especially for relatives traveling from out of town.

Consider stopping by the store beforehand to stock up on these oral health supplies:

  • Extra floss, toothpaste and new toothbrushes in case someone forgets theirs.
  • Mouth-friendly snacks like broccoli, celery, carrots, cheese and nuts.
  • A baby gate so younger guests don't venture into areas that pose a risk for mouth injuries.
  • Pain medications such as acetaminophen for children and ibuprofen for adults.1
  • A dental emergency kit with items like gauze, bandages, temporary filling material, dental wax for people with braces, dental cement for broken fillings or crowns and hydrogen peroxide for wound disinfection.

Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, mouth emergencies can still happen. Make sure you know when to seek professional care.

  • Toothaches are not the time for home remedies. Call your dentist for their advice.
  • Depending on the severity, bitten tongues and lips might be solvable at home, but if bleeding continues, you should go to the emergency room.
  • Professional care is normally needed for chipped teeth.
  • Emergency care is always required for adult teeth that fall out from an injury. If you address a lost tooth quickly enough, you might be able to save the tooth.2

Because it's the holidays, most regular dental offices will probably be closed, but that doesn't mean you don't have options for professional care. Start by contacting your personal dentist via an after-hours care number. Some dentists will see family members, depending on the circumstances, or can provide a referral to solve the problem. If you end up needing to find a new dentist, look for one in your family member's dental benefits network. Additionally, you might consider visiting urgent care or the emergency room. These facilities can help manage pain but won't be able to fix teeth. Your dental benefits don't cover these visits, so you'll need to check your medical plan.

Your family member will save the most money by visiting a dentist in their plan's network. If they're covered by Delta Dental, you can quickly find an in-network dentist using Delta Dental of Illinois' online dentist search.

Stay safe this season and be prepared for any surprises your family might encounter. Happy holidays!