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A Guide to Trapped Objects 

A trapped object between the teeth wouldn’t normally be deemed an ‘emergency’ by many people. But depending on what the object is, and where it is trapped, the only way for its safe removal may in actual fact be an immediate appointment at your dentist’s clinic.

Of course not all trapped objects require dental assistance, so a little bit of common sense is needed. For example, if it is a little bit of food that has got between the teeth and gums, brushing and flossing may be able to get rid of the problem object without the need to see a professional. Normally a gentle brushing motion around the affected area will bring the object out. Don’t be tempted to make the fatal mistake that many people make though – using a pin or a similarly sharp object – this is unnecessary and dangerous and could lead to more problems. 

Brushing and flossing correctly

It is something that every dentist says – ‘you must brush and floss regularly’. But how exactly do you do these two things effectively?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that they are cleaning their teeth effectively if they brush for a long period of time and brush hard. Brushing hard, however, can in fact damage your teeth and gums, so this should be avoided. Instead, a gentle, circular motion is better advised as this will keep the teeth in good condition but will ensure that they clean.

Flossing is the biggest sticking point, however, as many people use incorrect techniques that result in gums bleeding. Some people, after using dental floss for the first time, may also feel their teeth are a little loose, but this is perfectly normal and you should persevere with the flossing as it is for the greater good. Gums will stop bleeding after a time as they start to lose sensitivity and harden up.

If you are unsure as to how to floss correctly, ask your dentist to demonstrate the technique to you. Contrary to popular belief, you have to be gentle with the dental floss, use a swaying motion and make sure the floss barely passes between the gums.

Used effectively, flossing can help remove objects, can help prevent the build up of plaque which leads to decay, and can keep the gums clean and healthy.

Sometimes, however, brushing and flossing simply may not work and the trapped object may start to become painful if it is pressing on a sensitive part of the gum for instance. In this situation it is probably best left to your dentist to remove the object, as you don’t want to make anything worse than it needs to be. Though many trapped objects can be removed at home by following the correct techniques, sometimes an appointment at the dentist may be your best bet if you have had many failed removal attempts. If you are in pain, don’t forget you can take painkillers to ease the discomfort whilst you see the dentist.

What happens at the dentist?

Whatever the object that is trapped, you can rest assured that a dentist will be able to remove it safely and quickly. What tends to be the case is that when something gets trapped between the teeth, people will attempt to try to remove the object on their own but will then panic and worry that they are damaging their teeth and will just leave it. A dentist, on the other hand, knows how much pressure teeth can take and understands thresholds, so they know what they can/can’t do when it comes to getting rid of things stuck. Also, they have plenty of equipment that is available in different sizes, so they are able to get into the hardest to reach places.

If you are a little squeamish and are not keen on the process that your dentist is undertaking to get the object out, you could opt to be sedated.

Children/youngsters

Children and youngsters are prone to getting things stuck in their teeth as they are inquisitive and tend to try to eat everything within sight! If your child gets something stuck, try not to panic; exercise the same method that we have mentioned previously (try to remove it by brushing the teeth) and if this doesn’t work after a time, contact your dentist, who will be only too happy to help.

Children have plenty of gaps between their teeth so there is a high chance that something will get stuck in there eventually!