Avoid Dental Emergencies for a Tooth-Safe Halloween!

For those of you who don’t already know, Halloween is a big deal here in Baldwin Park. The decorations, the lights, the massive crowds of trick-or-treaters. We love Halloween around here, and we hope you and your family have a great time! We also don’t want a dental emergency to ruin your night.

What’s So Special About Halloween and Dental Emergencies?

The week—specifically the day—after Halloween is notorious in the dental world for seeing more emergency calls than at any other time of year. This trend continues throughout the holiday season. Like clockwork, dental emergencies seem to crop up when you’re trying to enjoy a holiday, or when every dentist near you is closed. What gives?

It’s no mere coincidence that Halloween and the holiday season see an uptick in dental emergencies. Maybe without realizing it, we take more risks with our dental health and tend to develop some eating habits outside our usual. Think about the types of food you usually eat in your day-to-day life. Then, think about your favorite foods when it comes to the holidays. Notice some differences?

More Sugar May Make You Wonder If You Have a Dental Emergency on Your Hands!

If we didn’t mention the extra sugary treats at Halloween and through the rest of the holidays, would we even count as dentists anymore? We all know sugar gets a lot of blame for causing cavities. But cavities take a while to develop. So why would stealing a few treats from your kids’ trick-or-treat bags suddenly make a cavity pop up?

In reality, it won’t. However, we do get more urgent calls about cavity-related pain and sensitivity in the days following Halloween, as well as around the other holidays. What’s up with that? While enjoying a few extra candies or sweets won’t create spontaneous cavities, it can make you painfully aware of cavities that may have been growing under the radar.

The pain and sensitivity associated with cavities can be triggered by changes in temperature such as hot coffee or ice cream. Changes in pH are another huge trigger for cavity pain. When you eat sugar, it breaks down into acid in your mouth. That acidity can irritate tiny nerve endings already on edge from a developing cavity. So even though your cavities probably didn’t crop up overnight on the 31st, they can suddenly start talking to you when you try to enjoy those fun-sized Snickers bars.

If you’re suddenly having sensitivity or pain when you eat candy, don’t panic. Call our office so we can take a look as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing aching, throbbing, or sharp pain that won’t respond to over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen, let us know! Your pain could indicate deep decay, or possibly even infection in a tooth.

If swelling from a problem tooth spreads to other areas of the neck, especially near the eyes or under the jaw, or if it comes with a fever over 101 degrees, you may need urgent medical attention at the Emergency Room!

Sticky Treats and Lost Dental Work

It happens every year: we see more lost crowns and fillings in the week after Halloween, and around the winter holidays, too. Are all these restorations suddenly failing at the same time out of nowhere? Probably not.

It’s just like the way eating more candy can make you aware of problems that were already developing. Enjoying more sticky foods like taffy and caramel makes it more likely that dental work that’s been weakening for months or years will finally let go. The bond between your tooth and your dental work slowly breaks down over time. It’s just a normal part of the aging process for crowns, fillings, and a variety of other restorations. However, in some cases that bond is compromised by new cavities starting to grow underneath your dental work.

Regardless of whether the bond is weakening from normal wear-and-tear, or if it’s because of new decay, lost dental work is usually not a true emergency. The tooth underneath may be sensitive, sore, or painful, which does not make for fun holidays.

If a crown comes loose, try to hang onto it! Many times, we can put it back in place so you won’t have to pay to have a new one made. Your lost restoration may trigger some symptoms like sensitivity or soreness. Just as in the case for possible cavities above, be sure to let us know what you’re dealing with, and head to the ER if you have severe swelling in other areas or fever along with your toothache.

Halloween Can Mean More Risk for Injuries

Aside from the aches, pains, and inconveniences that can come from changing eating habits, Halloween does put more people at risk for true dental emergencies. More than any other day of the year, Halloween is a time when we all tend to run around in the dark. Costumes that can make it hard to walk and masks that can limit our vision. Halloween means more trip-and-fall accidents with unseen obstacles on dark sidewalks and drapey or cumbersome costumes. Kids may smack into each other running around all hyped up on candy in masks that make it hard to see where they’re going. Prosthetic teeth can cause injuries to your gums or even get stuck on your teeth.

Talk about a recipe for disaster!

Injuries are the most common form of true dental emergency. If a tooth has been knocked out, try to find it if you can. Pick it up ONLY BY THE CROWN (the part that you can normally see when you smile or open your mouth) and don’t touch the root of the tooth at all. You can rinse the dirt off with cool water if needed. The best way to transport a lost tooth is to place it back into the socket if possible. You can also tuck it next to your gums, all the way down in the very bottom where the gums meet the cheek. However, if the person who lost the tooth might swallow it—for example, if they’re too young, or too drunk—the tooth can be put in milk to keep it safe while you get to a dentist.

Severe bleeding from the mouth or head that doesn’t seem to be slowing down after several minutes, loss of consciousness, or any signs of concussion should all get immediate medical attention. We can fix your teeth later!

We hope you all have a super safe and fun holiday. Whatever happens, remember that we’re here for you! Happy Halloween, Orlando!

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