Automobile accidents and sports traumas are the leading contributors to many dental emergencies. Of course, any number of circumstances can dictate the need to see an emergency dentist but it can be difficult on occasion to understand when it is okay to wait until the next available appointment. Many times, people think they are experiencing a dental emergency and they are really suffering from an inconvenience.
True Dental Emergencies
A chipped tooth isn’t actually a dental emergency if it doesn’t hurt. Losing a filling or temporary crown is certainly inconvenient, but it is not a dental emergency. A true dental emergency requires immediate attention to save a tooth, stop consistent bleeding in the oral cavity, or alleviate severe discomfort. Some examples include knocking out an adult tooth, tearing the cheek tissue or having a severe infection.
How to Handle a Dental Emergency
Each situation is different, but it is a good idea to keep contact information for your emergency dentist handy. For instance, if an adult tooth is knocked out, there is a short window of time where it can be saved. It is best to place the tooth in a small cup of milk or a Save-a-Tooth solution to keep it moist on the way to the dentist. You’ll also want to call and let them know you are coming. Most dentists do set aside some time to deal with emergencies during the day.
Puncture wounds and lacerations to the oral cavity usually require immediate attention. It is best to clean the area with warm water and gently apply pressure with gauze to control bleeding. Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen because they are anticoagulants, but do call your dentist right away.
A fractured tooth or severe infection may present with swelling of the facial tissue. If needed, rinse with warm water. Otherwise, gently apply a cold compress to the face to help reduce swelling. You can take acetaminophen to alleviate discomfort until you reach the dentist.
Dental emergencies can be scary and even traumatic. Keep our contact information on hand and if you are experiencing any of these issues, call our office immediately. Our compassionate staff and highly trained emergency dentist will spring into action to ensure you get the dental care you need.