Most of us are pretty familiar with routine dental visits and the other typical services offered by dental offices. But what constitutes a dental emergency? What if you develop a toothache, chip a tooth, or one of your crowns pops off? Your instinct might be to wait and tough it out instead of calling an emergency dentist. But there are certain dental emergencies that require immediate dental care. We outline some of the more common emergencies below. But if you are in any doubt, never hesitate to contact us. We’ll be able to tell you if you need to be seen immediately.
Common Dental Emergencies
Dentistry covers any problem of the teeth, mouth, or gums. In certain situations, time is of the essence. If you are experiencing any of the following common dental emergencies, call us immediately.
Having a Tooth Knocked Out
A knocked-out tooth is definitely a dental emergency and needs to be treated as soon as possible. With quick treatment, dentists may be able to reattach teeth that have been dislodged due to trauma or injury of some sort. If this happens to you, carefully pick up any teeth by the crown and remember that it’s important to make sure you avoid touching the roots. Gently rinse the tooth under running water, being careful not to lose any tissue that may be attached. Never scrub a tooth that’s been knocked out. If at all possible, put the tooth back into its socket and bite down gently to hold it in place. If that causes too much pain, place the broken tooth in a glass of milk and call us as soon as possible for an emergency appointment. In this situation, the sooner you can get to the dentist, the more likely it is that your tooth can be reinserted successfully.
A Loose Tooth
A loose tooth is considered a dental emergency in an adult. Loose teeth can have many causes such as an injury or recent trauma to the mouth. Call our dental office right away as you will likely need x-rays to determine the extent of the damage, or check to see if you have an infection that needs immediate attention.
An abscess is a pocket of infection that can be life-threatening if not treated right away. It usually stems from the root of a tooth and is often the result of an untreated cavity. An abscess often produces a foul smell and awful taste in the mouth due to bacteria and pus that is trapped around the tooth. If this emergency dental situation is not treated, the infection can travel to other parts of the body, causing fever, swollen glands, swelling of the gums, and general malaise. Patients that suffer from an abscess usually need surgery to drain the infection and prescribe antibiotics to clear up any remaining infection.
Any Dental Problems That Cause You Severe Pain
If you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding from your teeth, mouth, or gums, or swelling of your jaw, you should seek out emergency dental care immediately. The cause of excessive pain and bleeding is not always apparent to the patient, so if you are in severe discomfort it’s always better to see your dentist for help than to risk permanent damage.
What is Not a Dental Emergency
Sometimes a dental problem can be alarming, but it’s not a dental emergency that needs immediate attention. For example, a chipped or broken tooth does not necessarily require emergency care unless it is extremely painful. If you experience a mild toothache, apply a cold compress, and take some over-the-counter pain medication until you can get an appointment with one of our dentists during normal business hours. A lost crown or a filling can be downright frightening, and it may even put a damper on your smile. But again, unless you are in a lot of pain, you can safely wait a day or two before you see your dentist. If you do lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try and save it so you can show your dentist. You can also try and repair it using temporary filling material to cement it back into place.
What To Do If You Have a Dental Emergency
Dental emergencies need to be dealt with swiftly by a dental professional. The first thing you should do is contact your dentist, even if it’s outside normal office hours. If your dental practice is not open, they will usually have emergency instructions listed on their automated answering machine. Your dentist is in the best position to know if you are experiencing a dental emergency and will help direct you to where you can get the best treatment. Unfortunately, a regular emergency room doesn’t usually have a dental health professional on staff, so the most they will do is prescribe patients painkillers.
If you need help with any of the problems above, or anything you perceive as a dental emergency, call us today at 952-224-9775. We have locations throughout the greater Minnesota area and the Twin Cities, including our conveniently located Minneapolis office.