What is Emergency Dental Care?
Whether you are prepared for it or not, you could have a dental emergency tomorrow. Your emergency may require immediate attention, like losing a tooth in a car accident. In other cases, you may be able to breathe, assess the situation, and then make a call to the dentist to determine the next step. Should you go to the dentist? Should you go the emergency room? How do you know what is the best option when you’re not a dental or medical expert? Evaluating your symptoms, reviewing the severity of the emergency, and considering all your options will help you choose wisely.
What Is A Dental Emergency?
A routine dental appointment includes an exam, thorough cleaning, X-rays and consultation which happens twice yearly. Anything that occurs outside of these checkups is considered a dental emergency. You will already know that you need an emergency appointment if you start to experience pain or swelling in your mouth without having had an accident or injury to cause it. If you have experienced trauma that causes bleeding, gum lacerations, broken or chipped teeth you are also dealing with a dental emergency. Situations that include chipped veneers, lost fillings, and broken crowns are unplanned and inconvenient, but they are not emergencies.
Dental Emergency Symptoms and Quick Treatments
Here are some common dental emergencies and some immediate steps to take while you are contacting the dentist.
Broken or Cracked Teeth
Rinse your mouth with warm water
Use an ice pack or cold compress on the area to reduce swelling
Only touch the part of your tooth that is above the gum, try not to touch the root
If you can place it back in the socket, use gauze or a wet teabag to keep it in place
If you can’t put it back, hold it between your cheek and gum or put it in a container with milk
Use a wet cold compress on the area to reduce swelling and bleeding
Tooth or Jaw Pain
Warm to the touch, swelling, and fever can indicate an infection
Bad taste in your mouth and difficulty swallowing can also indicate an infection
A noticeable abscess and throbbing pain coming from inside of a tooth can indicate an infection in the pulp
Any of these infections may need antibiotics, drainage, or root canal
Bleeding or Aching Gums
Usually a sign of advanced gum disease or periodontal disease
Treatment depends on how severe your gum disease is
Soft Tissue Injury
Gently clean the wounded area
Use a wet cold compress to the bleeding area
If the injury is severe, seek medical treatment for stitches
If You Need Emergency Dental Care
When you are experiencing one of the common dental emergencies that we have discussed, it is important to contact your dentist immediately. In the event the office is closed, there may be a message with an answering service number or an emergency contact. If you talk to the answering service or get a voice mail for the emergency contact, be sure to leave a calm, detailed message listing all of your symptoms. If the problem or pain get worse, you should go to the closest emergency room for treatment. From there, the doctor can recommend if further dental treatment is recommended.