When it comes to sudden dental problems, your dentist should be the first person you contact. However, if something happens outside of their typical business hours, then what? You will probably need to find yourself an emergency dentist. Also, what is a dental emergency in the first place?
It’s crucial to understand the difference between a minor dental problem that can wait until morning and a genuine emergency that might endanger your health or cause you to lose a tooth. That is what we hope to help you understand in this article.
How do you know if you are experiencing a dental emergency?
Dental emergencies are common, but not every situation is going to require an emergency dental visit. We have compiled a list of several factors to consider. This should help you decide whether you need immediate treatment or not. So, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Am I in severe pain? Severe pain is a strong indication of a dental emergency.
- Did I lose a tooth? If a tooth came out, you need swift treatment to save it.
- Did I get one or some of my teeth knocked loose? If you tooth was knocked loose, you should see a dentist right away.
- Is there a possibility of infection? Infections can be life threatening and should be dealt with immediately.
- Am I bleeding? If there is any significant amount of blood, you should see a dentist right away. You could have a serious injury.
A good rule of thumb to follow for emergency dental care is, if you think you need treatment for severe pain, possible infection, a lost tooth, or to stop bleeding.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, call your dentist immediately. Let them know what happened and what you are experiencing. They should be able to let you know if they have an appointment available if they are in the office. If you can’t get a hold of your dentist, you will need to see an emergency dentist or maybe even get to an ER.
Less severe problems
Damage to your mouth or tooth can be shocking. However, if the issue can wait until you see your dentist in the next few days, it isn’t a dental emergency. Problems that appear to be critical can often wait for a day or two if you take care of yourself.
Here is an example. Let’s say you chip a tooth, but you experience no pain and the damage to the tooth appears to be minimal. You can probably wait to see a dentist in a few days.
Mild tooth pain can also wait in most cases. As long as the pain isn’t too unbearable and you aren’t experiencing swelling, bleeding, or a fever, you are probably fine to wait a few days.
What are some common dental emergencies?
Here’s a list of common dental emergencies that would likely require immediate treatment by a dentist:
- Sudden, extreme pain in your teeth, mouth, or gums
- Bleeding/red/swollen gums
- Swelling in your jaw or mouth
- A tooth gets knocked out or knocked loose
- Crown or filling falls out
- Dental Abscess
How to avoid a dental emergency
One of the best ways to prevent yourself from needing immediate dental treatment is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This is also known as preventive dentistry. It includes brushing and flossing daily, as well as regular bi-annual check ups with your dentist. Your dentist is going to inspect your mouth for signs of potential problems that could be developing. Stopping problems before they worsen is a great way to avoid bigger problems down the road.
If you play sports, it is wise to wear a mouthguard. Many teeth have been saved from being knocked out because a mouthguard was being worn.
Follow your dentist’s instructions after dental surgeries. For instance, dry sockets after tooth extractions can be extremely painful – but they can be prevented. Your dentist will let you know how to avoid this problem. Infections are always a risk when you have surgery or any kind. So, look out for those signs as well.