What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
Any dental problem that requires immediate attention because of possible tooth loss or severe pain is a dental emergency. If a tooth is knocked loose or completely out, or if you have ongoing bleeding or severe swelling or pain, you should see a dentist right away.
Not every toothache is an emergency, but there are a few different types of dental crises that do warrant rapid assistance from a qualified professional. Here are a few scenarios that would indicate that immediate dental help is needed, and what you should do while you wait to be seen.
Types of Dental Emergencies
Like every patient, every dental emergency is different, so an expert set of eyes is imperative. If you are experiencing temperature sensitivity, toothache pain, a cracked tooth, broken denture, swelling and tenderness in your gums and around your teeth, or blistering, these are all signs of an abnormality and require an immediate phone call to your local dentist.
Knocked out tooth
No question — a tooth that is completely dislodged from its position in your gum constitutes a dental emergency. While you wait to be seen, be sure to handle the tooth by the crown — never the root. Rinse the tooth in water, but do not scrub it or remove any tissue, and place it back in its socket if possible to prevent it from drying out. If this isn’t possible, wrap the tooth in clean gauze and immerse in milk or saliva.
Tooth pushed out of position
This is another example of a dental emergency. If possible, push the tooth back to its normal alignment — however, don’t force it if it won’t move. Also, you can bite down gently to keep it in its place.
A broken or fractured tooth is another example of a dental emergency. As you wait for your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm water and use an ice pack or a cold compress to help reduce swelling. Avoid taking aspirin — use ibuprofen instead if you’re in pain.
While a toothache can take many forms — those that suddenly become unbearable or those that pop up out of the blue can quickly make life miserable and may require an emergency dental visit. While you wait, rinse your mouth with warm water, check for lodged-in food (use dental floss). Never place an aspirin against the gum of an aching tooth as it can cause burns.
We handle all types of dental emergencies, from crowns, bridges, and fillings, to root canals. For our patients that wear dentures, we have an in house laboratory, including same day service for many types of repairs. The important thing is, if you are experiencing pain, contact us right away. Oral pain is a response to a problem, not the sign that one is beginning, so the sooner our dentist is able to investigate the source, the sooner we can fix it.
How to Seek Emergency Dental Help
With any of the dental emergencies listed above, you’re going to want to seek help as soon as possible. If you already have a regular dentist, and it’s during regular office hours, they may be able to squeeze you in. If you don’t, you’ll have to start searching for a nearby dentist that offers emergency services. You can search the internet for local options, and ask friends and family for recommendations.
Keep in mind is that not all dentists that offer emergency services will accept new patients — they may only see you if you’re an established patient, so it may take some time to determine if a nearby office can see you on an emergency basis.
Creating Smiles Dental does offer emergency dental services. Give us a call and we’ll help you determine if you need to be seen immediately. If it’s after hours, current patients will be able to speak to an on-call dentist, and those who aren’t established patients can leave a message and we’ll contact you first thing the next business day.