Would you be able to identify a medical emergency? Most likely, you know when a medical issue would require a trip to the local ER. But what about a dental emergency? Would you know when and who to call or where to go?
Probably not, if you’re like most people. Not many people experience issues with their teeth outside of office hours. If they do, they more than likely wait until the dentist’s office is open and proceed from there. However, some issues with the mouth, teeth and gums simply cannot wait days or even hours. In the event of a heart attack, for example, every minute counts. The same applies when a tooth is knocked out and you want to save it.
But it’s not so cut and dry when it comes to dental emergencies. What if an issue occurs in the middle of the night or on a weekend? Is it ever acceptable to go to your nearest hospital instead?
How to Know if it’s a Dental Emergency
Not all oral health issues require immediate care. For example, if you have lost a crown or filling, it’s not a life-or-death situation that warrants a trip to the dentist or ER. You can simply use denture adhesive to fix it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if your issue needs prompt treatment or can wait until your dentist is available:
- Is a tooth loose or knocked out? If so, call your dentist right away so you can save your tooth.
- Do you have an infection? Swelling in your gums, along with fever and inflammation, may be a sign of infection, which can sometimes spread. Seek treatment immediately.
- Are you bleeding or in severe pain? Bleeding in your mouth that won’t stop or severe pain that affects sleep needs to be examined promptly.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, then it is considered an emergency. You should try to call your dentist’s office, no matter what time it is. You should be able to reach a recording or a live person 24/7. If you can’t get ahold of your dentist in time, then go to the emergency room before the problem gets worse.
Common Dental Emergencies
· Knocked-out tooth. If your tooth has been knocked out, be sure to take swift action. It is possible that your dentist can save your tooth. Carefully pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root. Rinse it off without scrubbing. Place the tooth back in the socket, if possible. You can also place the tooth in a small container of milk to preserve it.
· Loosened tooth. Even if your tooth is not completely knocked out, but is loosened, you should let your dentist know. Loosened teeth can occur due to trauma or disease. Try to position the tooth back into place and call the dentist.
· Abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is a serious situation, as an infection is likely involved. Without proper treatment, this infection can spread and can even be life-threatening. Rinse your mouth with salt water and call the dentist right away.
· Cracked or chipped tooth. While a minor chip is not an emergency, a very painful or serious crack is. You will likely experience pain and inflammation, so use a cold compress on your face, take acetaminophen and call the dentist.
- Lacerations and other injuries. If your tongue, cheeks or lips are injured, rinse out your mouth with warm water. Place pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. You can go to your local hospital and seek treatment there.
Schedule A Consultation Today
Contact Family Dental of Westborough to schedule your consultation. Our friendly staff would be delighted to assist you and your family.
Call (508) 366-7450 or book an appointment online. Most major insurances are accepted and new patients are welcome. We look forward to meeting you.