Understanding Dental Emergencies Will Give You Better Access to Emergency Dental Care

Apr 01, 2020

You should be calling your dentist first whenever you are dealing with a dental problem. However, what will you do if you encounter a problem on a weekend, holiday or even your dentists’ office is already closed? If you are dealing with a severe dental problem beyond office hours you will in every likelihood need to seek emergency dental care or even visit an emergency room. However, do you know whether the problem affecting you is a dental emergency? If you attempt to understand what dental emergencies are, you will have better access to the treatment.

In this article, we are providing you information about dental emergencies and problems that can wait for your regular dentist to ensure you receive proper treatment for a dental problem you believe may be an emergency.

You need to differentiate between a common dental issue that can wait for some time and a real emergency that may threaten your dental health and cost you a tooth. Here is the information you should have to recognize dental emergencies.

How to Recognize a Dental Emergency?

American family physicians have stated that approximately 22% of Americans have experienced some dental or oral pain within the last six months to indicate how common dental emergencies are. However not every dental problem can be considered an emergency. To determine whether you can be seen by your regular dentist or take a trip to the ER on visit emergency dental care you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are you in severe pain? Severe pain with bleeding is a sign of an emergency.
  • Have you lost a tooth? Immediate treatment can potentially save the tooth.
  • Do you have loose teeth? Loose teeth even without pain should be considered as a serious problem because adults should not be losing teeth.
  • Do you have an infection? An infection like an abscess can be life-threatening if you delay the treatment. You may notice swelling around the face, swelling or knots on your gums beside the pain. This is a case for emergency dentistry.
  • Are you bleeding from the mouth? This is another indication of an emergency.

What Is Not a Dental Emergency?

If the problem affecting you can wait for a couple of days for your regular dentist to see you cannot be considered as a dental emergency. A chipped or cracked tooth that has left fragments in your mouth and is causing trauma is an emergency but a chipped tooth without pain can wait until your regular dentist is available. A lost crown or filling is not an emergency and can wait for a few days for your dentist to treat the problem.

Dental Emergencies Needing Immediate Treatment

Knocked-out Tooth

Quick action after a tooth is knocked out can help your dentist to reinsert the tooth and preserve it. You should carefully pick up the tooth by holding the crown without touching the root and rinse it in water without scrubbing it. If possible put the tooth back into its socket but if you cannot do that place it in a small container of milk and get to the dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If you have suffered an impact on the mouth that may have led to a serious fracture clean your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the face to reduce swelling. You can have acetaminophen for the pain but stay away from using a painkiller or numbing gel because it is harmful to your gums.

Abscessed Tooth

Dental abscesses are potentially life-threatening because a pocket of pus in the tooth would have led to the infection. You may suffer from fever, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, tender lymph nodes in your neck, swelling in the face, a persistent toothache, and small bumps close to the infected tooth.

This is a condition that needs emergency dental care because the infection can spread to your jaw and other parts of your body. Before you visit the emergency dentist you can rinse your mouth with mild warm salt water to reduce the pain and to draw the pus to the surface.

Understanding dental emergencies will make it better for you to determine whether you should get the treatment immediately or can wait for your regular dentist to see you. If you are suffering from any of the problems mentioned above you should be contacting a dentist for dental emergencies who can provide you the necessary treatment. A visit to your regular dentist after the treatment will also be needed for an evaluation.

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