Though they can be extremely painful, not every unexpected dental issue necessitates a visit to an emergency dentist. Whether you wake up in the middle of the night with tooth pain, or if you were in a sports accident that damaged a tooth, you may be wondering if you need immediate attention. Knowing when to wait to see your own dentist and when to rush to the nearest crisis dental office can save you a lot of confusion in a tense time.
What to do if you think you have a dental emergency
Not every toothache or even cracked tooth constitutes a dental emergency. If you fractured a tooth while eating dinner and are not experiencing serious pain, this issue requires attention but does not warrant a trip to the emergency dentist. Other non-emergencies include a minor toothache, gum injury, and lost fillings. Although these issues require dental care, they are not dental emergencies.
However, monitor yourself carefully and if fever or swelling arises or if pain is severe, contact a dentist immediately to identify the right course of action and follow these steps.
Assess the extent of the injury
If you have just experienced trauma to your mouth, take a moment to compose yourself, and then assess the damage. Use a mirror or ask whoever is with you to check your mouth out. Take note of any missing or broken teeth, and find the source of any bleeding. Pack any holes in your mouth, preferably with gauze, but a cotton ball or tea bag suffices in a pinch. This should help to minimize the bleeding.
Store broken or dislodged teeth
Lost or damaged teeth should be cared for and brought with you to the dental office. Retrieve the teeth or fragments, wash them, and store them in milk to preserve them.
Connect with your dentist
Contact your regular dentist before taking any other action. During regular hours of operation, the office may have time set aside for existing patients with urgent dental needs. Some dental practices provide patients with an emergency phone number to use if sudden dental care is needed. Call that number if you have been given one. If your own dentist is unable to see you, the office may refer you to an emergency dentist.
Seek emergency services
See an emergency dental clinic for quick care. If you are unable to find one near you, consider visiting an urgent care center or even an emergency room in extreme cases. Severe injuries, such as oral trauma that results in teeth being broken or knocked out, likely call for a trip to the emergency dentist. Additionally, excruciating tooth abscesses can require immediate oral care. Have someone else drive you for emergency services so that you have a ride home in the event that extensive repairs are necessary.
Frequently asked questions
1. Is the loss of a filling an emergency?
If a filling comes loose, you may notice pain or sensitivity because the cavity is exposed to air. Although you should contact your regular dentist right away, the situation does not necessarily require emergency services. In the time leading up to your dental appointment, there are some things you can do to minimize symptoms.
You can place a piece of sugar-free gum over the cavity, but make sure the gum does not contain sugar, as this will increase the pain. You may also be able to find dental cement at your local pharmacy that you can use to temporarily cover the gap.
2. Does bleeding constitute an emergency?
Seeing blood is often scary. However, keep in mind that the soft tissues of the mouth can bleed easily, and this does not necessarily mean you need emergency care. Minimize the bleeding by using a salt-water rinse and applying a cold compress, or by applying a moist tea bag to the affected area. Once the bleeding dissipates, take a closer look to assess the situation and determine if the injury is major. If so, contact an emergency dentist right away.
Oral pain or injuries are never any fun and should always prompt you to call your dentist. However, in many instances, a toothache or a chipped tooth does not require patients to speed off to the dentist. If your situation is truly an emergency, such as swelling of the face, bulging of the gums, or a fractured jaw, do what you can to preserve any teeth or fragments and head to the emergency dentist to have the issue attended to quickly and professionally.
Request an appointment here: https://www.carmelsmilesdentist.com or call Smiles in the Village Dentistry at (317) 575-6101 for an appointment in our Carmel office.
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