The CHP dental walk-in clinics are great resources for people in the Bozeman and Livingston areas who need emergency dental care. And CHP dentists see a wide range of patients in these clinics. But certain issues come up again and again. Learn more about what these problems are, and how to prevent them.
Our most common issue during the emergency clinic is tooth pain from unaddressed decay: cavities. Unfortunately, cavities don’t have symptoms until they are really big. By that point, options may be limited to expensive root canals or extractions. The best way to avoid this outcome is to have regular dental care. This includes routine exams and cleanings every six months or so.
It’s also important to keep up with at-home care. That includes brushing twice a day and flossing daily. But you can also help prevent cavities by watching your diet, limiting sugar and getting plenty of nutrients from vitamin-rich foods like leafy green vegetables.
Sometimes dentists might be able to fix a chipped tooth just with a filling, like a cavity. Or they might be able to reattach the part of the tooth that chipped off, so bring it with you if you have it. Depending on the size of the chip, you might need dental veneers, a crown, or a root canal.
You can help prevent chipped teeth by limiting how much sugar you eat and drink as well as by brushing and flossing regularly. Beyond that, don’t use your teeth to open bags and packages. And avoid chewing on hard things like ice and hard candy.
Fillings and crowns can sometimes fall out. But that’s not something to leave for your next appointment. If this happens to you, make an appointment immediately or get into an emergency walk-in clinic. In the meantime, keep the area as clean as you can with gentle brushing and a saltwater rinse after you eat. When you’re able to get in to see the dentist, they’ll check to see if they can just replace the filling or if other steps are needed. You don’t usually need to keep the filling that fell out but check with the office when you call in to see if they’d like you to.
Fillings don’t last forever, so it’s not unheard of that one would fall out unexpectedly. But going in for regular checkups lets your dentist keep an eye on the filling and helps them replace it before it’s an emergency.
It’s normal for your gums to bleed every once in a while, especially if you cut yourself on rough food or aggressive flossing. Protect your gums by being gentle! But if your gums start bleeding and won’t stop, or they bleed frequently or are sore and inflamed, it’s time to head to the dentist.
Frequent gum bleeding is often caused by plaque building up along the gum line. This can lead to infection, discomfort, and gum disease. The best way to prevent this is by brushing and flossing, of course. But it’s also important to go in for regular professional cleanings to help clear out plaque before it gets really bad.
You might notice a theme of prevention here: brush, floss, and make time for preventative care with regular cleanings and checkups. And it is simple. But the fear of high costs can keep many people out of the dentist’s chair. Don’t let that keep you from taking care of your mouth.
CHP dental clinics offer a sliding payment scale, and you may be eligible for help applying for assistance programs. Make an appointment to take care of your oral health.