When to make an emergency dental visit?
Dental problems occur in various forms. Perhaps you trip over the side of the road and knock your tooth out. Perhaps your tooth crown falls out late at night and you don’t know what to do. Perhaps you have a severe toothache that won’t recede despite your best efforts. All of these situations require dental attention, but all of them don’t require an emergency dental visit. You should only schedule emergency dental visits when you have actual dental emergencies, i.e., situations that must be treated within a few minutes or hours to prevent long-term consequences. Most people can’t identify actual dental emergencies from urgent dental situations that can still wait a few days. Below, we highlight the situations when you should contact a local emergency dentist.
When you have a knocked-out tooth…
When your permanent tooth is knocked clean out of the socket with the root intact, you must contact a local emergency dentist immediately. You can save the tooth if you’re careful and contact an emergency dentist without delay. Your biggest priority at this point is to prevent the tooth from dying. You should lift the tooth up by the crown (avoid touching the root), rinse it clean without scrubbing the root, and hold it between the gum and teeth. You can also place the tooth in an airtight container with saliva, milk, or warm saltwater. When you go to the local emergency dentist, they might be able to reattach it into the socket. However, the chance of reattachment falls after an hour, so you must be quick.
When you have severe toothaches…
Mild toothaches can be caused by food stuck between your teeth, which can be removed with flossing. You can also have mild toothaches due to mild trauma, cuts, and other minor situations. However, severe and persistent toothaches indicate that something’s seriously wrong, such as a severely fractured tooth, dental abscess, severe dental decay, and other such problems. You should be particularly wary of toothaches accompanied by swelling or fever — that might indicate an infection. Furthermore, if the toothache suddenly stops after persisting for several days, your affected tooth may be dead. In all these situations, you must contact your local emergency dentist without delay. If you don’t seek help quickly, the affected tooth may eventually have to be removed.
When you have bleeding and swelling…
You must contact an emergency dentist if you have severe bleeding and swelling in your soft tissues, such as the gums, tongue, cheeks, and lips. If the bleeding is mild, you can stop the bleeding yourself and take some pain medications. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop or your gums bleed while brushing, you must contact a local emergency dentist. Bleeding gums are often indicative of gum disease or periodontitis, the latter of which is a severe infection necessitating immediate attention. Bleeding accompanied by swelling and fever may also indicate an infection or dental abscess. The sooner you contact a local emergency dentist, the better.
When you have severe dental fractures…
Dental fractures can be mild or severe. In fact, there are several categories of dental cracks and fractures. At the lowest extreme are craze lines — these are extremely thin cracks on the surface enamel due to regular wear and tear. Most adults have craze lines — they don’t necessitate treatment. Minor dental cracks and chips on the surface enamel may necessitate treatments, such as dental fillings and composite bonding, but they’re not emergencies. However, severe dental fractures count as dental emergencies. Your dental fracture is deemed severe if it goes under the gumline, reaches the root, or is deeper than the enamel. If the fracture reaches the pulp chamber, the dentist may have to perform a root canal. In rare cases, tooth extractions may be necessary.
When you notice a dental abscess…
You must schedule an emergency dental visit the moment you notice the early signs of a dental abscess. A dental abscess is the buildup of pus and infection within a tooth or gums. The most common symptoms of a dental abscess include pain in the affected areas, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, foul taste in your mouth, swallowing difficulties, insomnia, difficulty opening the mouth, and a fever. If you notice these problems, you must contact an emergency dentist without delay. If a dental abscess is left untreated, the bacterial infection can destroy the entire tooth, spread to the surrounding teeth, or enter your bloodstream. In severe cases, dental abscesses can also be life-threatening. The most obvious sign of a dental abscess is a pus-filled cyst in your mouth.
How long can I wait before going to the dentist if trauma occurs?
If a dental trauma occurs, you must go to the emergency dentist immediately without any delay. The slightest of delays can worsen the situation.
Where should I store a tooth that gets knocked out until I can see a dentist?
When your tooth gets knocked out, you must store it within an airtight container with milk, warm salt water, or saliva. You can also place it in an emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth) or place it in your mouth near the socket.
Should I scrub the tooth clean and dry it off before I go to the dentist?
No. You must never scrub the tooth or let it dry off. That would kill the tooth and the root cells. Instead, you must rinse the tooth while holding it by the crown without touching or scrubbing the root. After rinsing it clean, place it in a wet environment where it can remain moist.
Where can I find the right local emergency dentist?
URBN Dental is one of the most reliable dental clinics for local emergency dentists in Uptown Houston or Midtown Houston, TX. Our emergency dental clinic is open on Saturdays, and we accept last-minute walk-in appointments during dental emergencies. For more information, please schedule an appointment at your nearest dental clinic today.