What qualifies as a dental emergency?
Most people struggle to distinguish urgent dental issues from dental emergencies. Most dental problems require urgent care because they’re chronic, i.e., they gradually worsen with time. If left untreated, most dental issues can become dental emergencies. Even cavities can eventually burrow into the pulp tissues, necessitating a root canal procedure or tooth extraction. However, dental emergencies are different from all other dental issues — they need immediate attention within a few minutes or hours. When it comes to dental emergencies, delaying the treatment by a few hours can have massive long-term consequences. As such, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a dental emergency necessitating emergency dental care.
According to the American Family Physician, 22% of the American population experiences oral or dental pains every year, but all dental problems aren’t dental emergencies. To determine if you truly have a dental emergency, you should ask the following questions:
- Do you have a knocked-out tooth? If so, you need immediate dental treatment to reattach the knocked-out tooth.
- Do you have severe toothaches? If you have severe toothaches, especially if accompanied by bleeding, swelling, or fevers, you need immediate dental care.
- Do you have signs of infections? If you have signs of infections, such as facial swelling, bleeding gums, or pus-filled cysts, you must seek emergency dental care to prevent life-threatening situations.
- Do you have loose teeth? Adult teeth should never be loose, and if your tooth is loose, you need emergency dental care.
While it’s important to understand which situations count as dental emergencies, it’s just as important to understand when you don’t have a dental emergency. The following situations are often misconstrued as dental emergencies, but they’re not.
- Chipped Teeth: Your chipped or fractured teeth only count as dental emergencies if the fracture extends under the gum line or if the fragments are left inside your mouth.
- Mild Toothaches: If you have a mild toothache, you can delay the treatment until regular dental clinic hours. You can also manage the toothache with pain medications and a salt water rinse.
- Lost Crowns/ Fillings: If your fillings or crowns are lost, you can wait a few days before you get them replaced. You can also place the crown back using dental cement.
What should I do when dealing with a dental emergency?
Most people start panicking when they’re faced with dental emergencies. However, panicking during dental emergencies often worsens the situation because you make rash decisions that may prove harmful. People panic when they don’t expect a situation or have the tools to handle the situation. If you understand what to do during various dental emergencies, you’d be able to handle the situation with a clear mind. You should also consult your emergency dentist whenever a dental emergency occurs. The emergency dentist will listen to your problems and let you know if you’re facing an actual dental emergency necessitating immediate treatment.
Below, we list some of the most common dental emergencies and what to do when dealing with dental emergencies.
- Knocked-Out Teeth: If your tooth gets knocked out completely due to falls, injuries, or traumas, you must preserve the knocked-out tooth. If you hurry, the tooth can even be reattached in place. You should pick the tooth up by the crown (don’t touch the root), rinse it clean without scrubbing the root, and place it in an airtight container with milk, salt water, or your saliva.
- Fractured Teeth: Fractured teeth only pose major dental problems if the fracture runs under the gum line or deeper than the enamel. However, most people can’t assess the extent of fracture on their own, so it’s a good idea to visit an emergency dental clinic. You should rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress to your cheeks, and have someone drive you to the clinic. You can also preserve the tooth fragments in an airtight container with milk, salt water, or your saliva.
- Dental Abscess: A dental abscess is a pus-filled cyst usually formed on the base of your teeth or gums. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening infection necessitating immediate dental care. The moment you notice the dental abscess, you must have someone drive you to the dental clinic.
How do you make treatment available in cases of a dental emergency?
During dental emergencies, our emergency dentists carefully assess the situation, run diagnostic tests, and provide treatments for immediate relief. If your tooth is knocked out, the dentist may try reattaching the tooth or discuss tooth replacement options. If your tooth is fractured, the dentist will determine if it can be saved or if it needs to be extracted. Each dental emergency is dealt with individually.
What are my sedation options for emergency dental care procedures?
Your sedation options during emergency dental care procedures usually include nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation. Your dentist will determine the ideal sedation option based on your specific goals and needs.
If I need to have a tooth extracted to eliminate oral discomfort, what are my options for preserving the extraction site?
Once the tooth is extracted, you can undergo a ridge/ socket preservation procedure to protect the extraction site. A bone grafting material is planted at the extraction site to preserve it and prevent a dry socket during this procedure.
What are the signs that root canal treatment is needed?
- Severe pain while chewing
- Pus-filled cysts
- Chipped teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Swollen gums
- Dark gums
Schedule an appointment with a weekend emergency dentist today.
URBN Dental is one of the most reliable dental clinics for emergency dental services open on weekends. If you have a dental emergency, please schedule an appointment with our weekend emergency dentist today.