Going through a dental emergency can be a daunting and stressful experience. When you’re nursing a severe toothache or a broken tooth, the last thing you want is to grapple with confusion about where to seek help. How do you distinguish everyday dental discomforts from genuine emergencies? Where should you go when excruciating pain or a concerning dental issue arises unexpectedly?
In this blog post, we aim to ease some of your anxieties by offering a simple guide to dealing with emergency dental scenarios, helping you understand what to do and where to go in these challenging circumstances.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency refers to any situation involving the teeth, gums, or mouth where immediate professional medical attention is needed to prevent permanent damage or treat severe pain. These emergencies often involve injury, infection, or acute discomfort that cannot be mitigated with over-the-counter remedies. A swift response through dental services is crucial to alleviate pain, preserve the affected structure, and prevent potential complications.
What Are Considered Dental Emergencies?
Severe Toothache or Gum Pain
Dental pain is usually a sign of an underlying problem, such as cavities or tooth decay. If you experience severe toothache or gum pain that persists for more than a day or two, it’s important to seek emergency dental care. Ignoring the pain can lead to further damage and potential infection.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
If you have chipped or broken teeth, it’s important to seek immediate dental care. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may be able to repair the tooth or recommend a more extensive treatment plan. Ignoring chipped or broken teeth can lead to further damage and potential infection.
A knocked-out tooth is considered a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. If possible, try to gently place the tooth back into its socket and hold it in place until you can get to a dentist. If that’s not possible, you can also keep the tooth in a cup of milk or saliva until you reach the dentist. Time is crucial in saving a knocked-out tooth, so seeking emergency dental care as soon as possible is essential.
Loose or Missing Dental Crowns or Fillings
Dental crowns are used to protect and restore damaged teeth. If you have a loose or missing dental crown, it’s important to seek emergency dental care. Leaving a tooth without the protection of a crown can lead to further damage and potential infection.
An abscessed tooth is an infection that occurs at the root of the tooth. It can cause severe pain, swelling, and difficulty chewing or opening your mouth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and become a serious health issue. Seeking emergency dental care is crucial in treating an abscessed tooth.
Facial Swelling Due to Oral Infections
Facial swelling can be caused by various factors, including oral infections. If you experience sudden and severe facial swelling, it’s important to seek emergency dental care. Ignoring the swelling can lead to further complications and potential health risks.
Uncontrolled Bleeding From the Oral Cavity
While minor bleeding from brushing or flossing is normal, excessive and persistent bleeding could indicate a more serious issue. Uncontrolled bleeding from the oral cavity can be a sign of gum disease, infection, or other underlying health conditions. Seeking emergency dental care can help determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.
Injury to Soft Tissues in the Mouth
Accidents happen, and sometimes they result in injuries to soft tissues within the mouth, such as the tongue, cheeks, or gums. These injuries can be quite painful and may require prompt emergency dental care to stop the bleeding, reduce pain, and minimize the risk of infection.
Where to Go for Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies, from agonizing toothache to severe injuries, require immediate professional attention. But knowing where to go for a dental emergency is crucial.
Often, a dental crisis comes with extreme pain that necessitates immediate relief. Consequently, many people choose the nearest healthcare facility or hospital emergency room as their first resort. Yet, the lingering question remains: Can the ER do anything for tooth pain or a dental emergency?
In most instances, the ER is equipped to provide immediate pain relief by administering some form of painkiller or counterpain medication. This acts as a temporary solution to manage excruciating pain. However, ERs typically lack the specialized dental equipment and expertise necessary for the treatment of complex dental issues.
While this service can provide much-needed relief in the short term, it may not be the best solution. After administering the immediate relief, ER staff will likely refer you to a dentist to manage the root issue. This referral may involve both emergency dentists and regular dentists, who are equipped to handle a broad spectrum of dental problems.
Instead of heading to the ER, a better course of action during a dental emergency is to go straight to a dental office that offers hours of emergency care to cater to dental emergencies. Although ERs can provide immediate pain relief, dental offices can provide comprehensive treatment to tackle the issue at its root.
Dentist offices and qualified professionals therein are equipped to deal with a wide range of emergencies – from teeth-related issues like primary toothache and broken teeth to soft tissue injuries affecting the gum tissue. In other words, not only can they provide relief from the immediate emergent symptoms, but they are also capable of diagnosing and treating root causes.
Visiting a dental office during emergencies offers another significant advantage – it ensures continuity of care. Your regular dental clinic will have your comprehensive medical history on file, which will, in turn, aid in accurate diagnosis and treatment.
What to Do If You Need Emergency Dental Care
Emergency dental care can be a daunting prospect. However, dental emergencies what to do procedures can make things less scary and ensure you receive the treatment you need as quickly as possible.
1. Stay Calm
Ensure that you remain calm to tackle this upsetting situation effectively. The steps you take next will depend on what kind of dental emergency you’re dealing with.
2. Determine the Type of Dental Emergency
The first thing to do is figure out if you are dealing with a genuine dental emergency. A dental emergency can include a knocked-out tooth, severe toothache, consistent jaw pain, abscess or gum infections, and uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth.
3. Apply First Aid
Depending on the type of dental emergency, apply relevant first aid. This can include:
- Rinsing the mouth with a mild salt-water solution for a severe toothache
- Using a cold pack to minimize facial swelling in case of a facial injury
- Stopping severe bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth or sterile gauze
4. Contact Your Dentist Immediately
Call your regular dentist immediately. Many dentists reserve time in their schedules for emergency patients. The sooner you can get in touch with them, the better it will be.
5. Go to the Dental Office
After contacting your dentist, proceed to the dental office as soon as you can. Ensure that you take any knocked-out tooth or broken pieces of the tooth with you. Remember to keep these in a small container of milk or saline solution to preserve them.
6. Call an Emergency Dentist
If you cannot reach your regular dentist, the next best option is to contact an emergency dentist near you. These dentists provide extended hours and specialize in dealing with dental emergencies promptly and effectively.
7. Visit the Emergency Room
If you cannot reach an emergency dentist and the situation is worse—such as intense unmanageable pain or excessive bleeding—visit the emergency room at your nearest hospital.
What Will ER Do For Tooth Infection?
In the scenario of a dental infection, such as a sinus infection or any form of bacterial infection, the ER will likely provide antibiotics to manage the symptoms temporarily. However, complete exams by a dentist are essential to determine the exact dental disease and treatment options, including possible emergency treatments like root canals to address the underlying problem fundamentally.
Come to Life Dentistry for a Quick and Gentle Emergency Dental Treatment
Dental emergencies can be terrifying, painful, and inconvenient. Here at Life Dentistry, we understand this and are experts in taking care of dental emergencies when they arise. Our friendly team is always on-hand to provide immediate relief and comprehensive aftercare for your dental emergency. We can attend to your dental emergencies quickly and comfortably in our modern facilities.
Call us any time you need urgent dental care, and we will take it from there!