Guide to Trapped Objects
Getting an object trapped between your teeth can be irritating. We all know the feeling of having a piece of food trapped between your teeth after a meal. It preys on your mind and you can’t seem to relax until you’ve got rid of it. Whether you use a toothpick or you brush your teeth, you just have to get rid of that awkward piece of food.
Of course, having a piece of stray food trapped in your teeth should not constitute a dental emergency. However, you would be surprised at the types of things dentists have removed from in between their patient’s teeth. Most dentists have a story to tell. The most common occurrences are when people try to bite things open or apart when they should use the proper implement. So anything from fishing lines to bottle tops have caused dental emergencies in the past – and plenty of other things in between!
On a more serious note, children can often get items trapped in their teeth. For a toddler, one of their greatest methods of learning about the world around them is by tasting things. Naturally, at that age, they do not discriminate too much! As this is also the age when teeth are just growing and there are plenty of gaps to fill, things can trapped and give children a fright.
What should you do if you get something trapped in your teeth?
While most of us find food trapped in our teeth simply irritating, it can be painful. The most important thing to remember about trapped objects is that, while your teeth are strong, there are plenty of sensitive and tender areas in your mouth that can easily be damaged if you do not take due care and attention. These include the inside of the cheeks, the tongue and the gums.
Therefore, your first thought should be to ensure that you do not cause any more damage than you already have! Do not use any sharp implements or pointed metal objects to try and remove the trapped object from your teeth. Some people are often tempted to try using a pin, for example. It’s not a good idea.
If you think you can remove the object yourself without calling a dentist, try in the first instance by brushing your teeth. If the object is causing you pain, brush gently and in a motion that moves your brush away from your sensitive gums. Ideally, this motion will brush the object out of the teeth, rather than brushing it deeper into the gum.
If brushing does not work, you could try using some dental floss. First, try to loosen the object by washing some warm water around the inside of your mouth. This will also help to soothe your gums if they have been irritated or inflamed. Then, tie a knot in the dental floss and work it gently in between your teeth. If you work it back and forth, hopefully it will encourage the object to loosen and come free.
What will your dentist do?
Many occurrences of objects trapped in the teeth can be resolved at home. However, if the object is causing you pain then you should not hesitate in calling your dentist to arrange an appointment for emergency treatment.
An over the counter painkiller will help to ease the pain until you can see your dentist. Your dentist will have a variety of techniques available to remove whatever item is trapped in between your teeth. In reality, many of us are wary of damaging our teeth and can panic unnecessarily if something becomes trapped there. An experienced dentist will know exactly how to calm a patient and spend time gently working the item free.
If necessary, your dentist will be able to offer a sedative to patients who are unable to relax.
What is the best approach to oral hygiene?
For dentists, one of the big problems with people getting objects trapped in their teeth is that people lack the knowledge of how to clean their teeth properly. Therefore, people use the wrong type of implement to try to clean their teeth and end up with it trapped in their teeth. Everything from paper clips to safety pins, from pen tops to mini-screwdrivers may look as though they can do the job – but you are probably doing your teeth far more damage than you realise.
The tools that you need to maintain a good standard of oral hygiene do not have to be expensive. Some people imagine that they need to buy the latest electric toothbrushes and the most expensive toothpastes and mouthwashes. But that is not necessarily true. What is most important is that you maintain a regular routine.
Your oral hygiene routine should consist of brushing twice each day with a flouride toothpaste. Dentists also recommend that you should floss after meals. This should remove the majority of plaque and debris from your teeth. If you find that food is still getting stuck between your teeth, do not try to winkle it out with some other sort of home-spin instrument. Talk to your dentist, as they may be able to suggest shaping or smoothing a tooth slightly, so that food is less likely to become trapped.
How do I use dental floss?
Considering every dentist recommend using dental floss to protect teeth and gums, it is surprising how few people actually bother to do so.
Many people are put off using dental floss because they worry it can get trapped in their teeth. The initial experience of using dental floss can also make some people nervous. You’re teeth will often feel a little bit wobbly after flossing and your gums may bleed.
It not necessarily a nice thought, but the fact it that flossing is actually very good for your teeth and gums. However, you have to make sure that you floss regularly and that you do it effectively.
If used effectively, dental floss will not simply remove trapped food from between your teeth. It will also remove plaque from those places where your toothbrush cannot reach. You should use your dental floss to scrub as much of the surface of the tooth as you can, especially using the floss to get right into the area where the tooth ends and the gum begins.
It is important to remember that dental floss helps to stop the build-up of plaque, so ultimately, it helps to protect your teeth and gums against decay, cavities and gum disease.
Your gums bleed when you first begin to floss because they are usually tender through mild gum disease. With continued flossing, the gums will start to strengthen again and the bleeding should stop. Similarly, while your teeth may feel slightly loose initially, once the gums become healthy your teeth will feel healthier and stronger.
If, however, your gums continue to bleed even after you have been flossing for a few weeks, you should consult your dentist.