Emergency

Emergency Dentistry

Dental emergencies tend to be painful, especially when left untreated. The large presentation of blood renders some of us nearly hysterical. In severe cases, without immediate treatment the damage may result in irreparable conditions, and cause more complications later on. To save yourself, and your wallet, it is best to have these types of situations evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.

Note that head injuries take priority over lost or broken teeth. If you think that the patient has sustained a head injury, proceed to the nearest hospital or call an ambulance.

Stay Calm

Despite our efforts to the contrary, everyday life has a way of introducing unforeseen events at inopportune times. In many cases, we know what to do and where to go for medical attention. What if, however, you or someone in your presence experiences a dental emergency. Should you go to a doctor? A hospital? A dentist? Your first job is to remain calm and help others remain calm while you assess the situation.

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What Is a Dental Emergency?

If you require an emergency appointment, contact your dentist to describe your symptoms and arrange treatment. Your dentist will make an effort to see you in a timely fashion, but multiple emergencies or unforeseen circumstances may not make that possible. In that case, your dentist will ask that you see another emergency dentist for treatment of this infection (follow ups with your regular dentist).

If you are experiencing symptoms outside of office hours, all emergencies must be seen at the nearest emergency dental clinic.

The time it takes to see your dentist can seem like forever when you are suffering the pain and discomfort of a tooth infection. To limit discomfort in the meantime we recommend sipping and rinsing with ice water. This is helpful because cold water can be held directly at the site. If this is not comfortable, an ice pack should be used on the outside of your cheek.

Note that if you think you may have a tooth infection it is important not to apply heat. Doing so draws blood to the area, worsens inflammation and worsens pain.

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Getting to the Dentist After a Knockout/Broken Tooth

If you are dealing with a knocked-out tooth, transport it in the patient’s cheek pocket or in cold milk. This will help to increase the likelihood of replacing and retaining the natural tooth in its socket. Odds are best when you see an emergency dentist within 30 minutes.

It is important to collect tooth fragments if possible, since your dentist may be able to use them to restore your teeth.

Infection

Tooth infection cases are often emergent due to the severe pain they can cause, such as quick onset of painful eating or pain when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold. If the patient has not experienced trauma to the mouth and complains of severe pain, it is important to check for signs of infection along the gums. Check for redness, swelling and any signs of a wound on the gums. These pimple-like sores are a definite sign of infection and requires a trip to an emergency dentist. Deferring treatment could result in a severe infection with potential for spreading in the blood/body. Another telling sign of infection is complaint of a sour taste that won’t go away.

Where a tooth infection is present, it may require a root canal. However, your dentist may also be able to open and drain the tooth to relieve the pain until a full procedure can be performed.

Note that the absence of a pustule on the gum does not mean that there is no infection. Similarly, tooth infections remain painful until the nerve is ultimately killed by it. If your persistent pain vanishes in an instant, you likely have a serious infection and require an emergency trip to the dentist.

If you require an emergency appointment, contact your dentist to describe your symptoms and arrange treatment. Your dentist will make an effort to see you in a timely fashion, but multiple emergencies or unforeseen circumstances may not make that possible. In that case, your dentist will ask that you see another emergency dentist for treatment of this infection (follow ups with your regular dentist).

If you are experiencing symptoms outside of office hours, all emergencies must be seen at the nearest emergency dental clinic.

The time it takes to see your dentist can seem like forever when you are suffering the pain and discomfort of a tooth infection. To limit discomfort in the meantime we recommend sipping and rinsing with ice water. This is helpful because cold water can be held directly at the site. If this is not comfortable, an ice pack should be used on the outside of your cheek.

Note that if you think you may have a tooth infection it is important not to apply heat. Doing so draws blood to the area, worsens inflammation and worsens pain.

Non-Emergent Dental Concerns

If you have not had teeth broken or knocked-out and you aren’t in significant pain, chances are that you do not require an emergency trip to the dentist. We recommend that you call the clinic and request to be seen as soon as possible – typically within the next 24 to 48 hours. Here are some common cases requiring a dental appointment and some ‘band aid’ recommendations to help in the meantime.

Cuts from Braces – Cuts and sores are a common complaint from those who wear metal braces. To help, keep dental wax on hand to press over sharp wires and brackets to prevent further cutting until you can see your dentist. Note that dental wax is available at your local drugstore.

Crown Fell Off – if your crown falls off, clean it gently and place it back in place using a small amount of toothpaste or Vaseline between the crown and the natural tooth. This will help the crown stay in place temporarily.

Filling Fell Out – if your filling fell out and your tooth is feeling painfully sensitive, place a small amount of chewing gum or dental wax over the exposed area to offer protection from sensitivity until you can see your dentist.

If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.

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