In many dental problems, time is of the essence. Getting prompt care can keep the issue from getting worse or end up saving teeth. Understanding the question, “What is a dental emergency” will help you make sure you get the right treatment at the right time. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out who you should contact when something goes wrong in your mouth.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency problem is if it requires immediate care to halt bleeding, save a tooth, or stop the pain. The most basic example of a dental emergency is a knocked-out tooth. The tooth can often be re-implanted, but only if you get to the dentist quickly. The longer you wait, the less likely it is to save the tooth.
Another dental emergency is a tooth so loose that it is wiggling around in your mouth or a tooth that is so cracked it hurts intensely. You may also have a dental emergency if you have a severe infection or dental abscess. Until you can be treated, apply an ice pack to the area or use Tylenol to help manage pain. For loose or knocked-out teeth, try to gently hold the tooth in place in the socket until you can see the dentist.
What Types of Problems Can Wait for Treatment?
Some dental problems need fast care but are not so urgent that they count as an actual emergency. If you have lost a dental filling or damaged your dental bridge or your crown, it is not an emergency. Dull tooth pain or mild tooth sensitivity is another thing that is a sign of concern but not an actual emergency.
Another example is a tooth with a small chip or visible fracture in it or swollen and bleeding gums that may need periodontal disease treatment. These things are still a type of dental emergency that you should contact your dentist about as soon as possible. However, you can usually wait a day or two to treat them, so you don’t need to rush to the dentist’s office in the middle of the night unless the pain is extremely intense.
When Should You Go to the Emergency Room?
Some things are technically a dental emergency, but you should instead view them as a medical emergency. Your dentist should be your go-to for most dental problems, but severe injuries due to an accident or attack may need treatment from a medical doctor instead. If you have excruciating pain or bleeding that cannot be stopped, you may want to visit the emergency room. You may need emergency medical care if the damage to your mouth includes problems such as:
- Broken bones
- Torn skin
- Severe tissue damage
- Broken teeth that have left sharp fragments
- Bleeding that continues after 10 minutes
If you have a dental emergency and cannot reach your dentist, you may want to go to the emergency room for care while waiting to hear back from your dentist.
How to Schedule Treatment for a Dental Emergency
Most dentist offices will treat emergencies differently from their usual appointments. This means that you do not need to wait until office hours for care, and you do not have to wait several days for a free appointment slot. Instead, your dentist will have an emergency care number you can dial. This will put you directly in touch with someone who can make sure the dentist sees you as soon as possible. Typically, by the time you can drive to the dentist’s office, the doctor will be there to care for you. Some of the services we offer include:
At Lovett Dental Northside, we are committed to getting you the care you need as soon as possible. Set up your next appointment with us today by calling 713-691-5551.