What is a Dental Emergency & When Should I Contact a Dentist?

Through your life, you’ve probably faced a dental problem at least once or twice, but facing a dental emergency carries a very different weight than your common dental issue. If you’re dealing with a severe dental problem outside normal office hours, you will likely need an emergency dentist or even an emergency room visit.

In an emergency, it’s important to understand the difference between a dental issue that can wait until your dentist is open and a real emergency that can threaten your health or cost you a tooth. Here’s what you should know about recognizing common dental emergencies.

Identify a Dental Emergency

To help you determine if you can wait to be seen by your emergency dentist or if you need to visit the ER, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you in severe pain? Severe pain and bleeding are signs of an emergency.
  • Have you lost a tooth? Fast treatment can potentially save a tooth.
  • Do you have loose teeth? Adults should never lose teeth. A loose tooth, even without pain, is a serious problem.
  • Do you have an infection? An abscess or serious infection in your mouth can be potentially life-threatening, and treatment should not wait. You may notice swelling or knots on your gums or swelling around the face.
  • Are you bleeding from the mouth? This is a potential sign of an emergency.

In general, any dental problem that needs immediate treatment to stop bleeding, alleviate severe pain, or save a tooth is considered an emergency. This consideration also applies to severe infections that can be life-threatening.

If you have any of these symptoms, you may be experiencing a dental emergency. Call your dentist immediately and describe what happened. If your dentist’s office is not open, you may need to go to an emergency dentist or the ER.

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Waiting to Resolve a Non-Emergency Dental Issue

While dealing with any dental problem should be a good priority, if the situation is not an emergency, you should contact your dentist to set an appointment and best understand your next steps. Sometimes problems that seem critical can wait for a day or so if precaution is taken.

For example, a damaged tooth from a fracture or chip that is causing sharp pain or left a fragment inside your mouth should be addressed as an emergency. A chipped tooth that isn’t causing any pain can wait for a dental appointment.

Common Dental Emergencies

If you’re suffering from any of the following common dental emergencies, here’s what you need to know about caring for the problem until you can get to a dentist.

Knocked-Out or Removed Tooth

With quick reactions and proper care, a knocked-out tooth can have a good chance of being reinserted into the mouth. First, locate the lost tooth and place it in a container or bag filled with milk to preserve the tooth. Once you’ve saved the tooth, get in contact with a local emergency dentist as quickly as possible. To stop any bleeding, apply gauze and pressure to the exposed area of the gums.

Cracked or Chipped Tooth

If you have a very painful or serious fracture, clean your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of your face to reduce swelling. Avoid any painkillers until applied by a dentist as they may cause damage to the gums.

Fractured Root Canal

Sharp pain under the root of the tooth is most likely sourced by a fractured root canal. If the main pain is very sharp, contact a local emergency dentist right away.

Hospitality Dental Emergency Care

If you ever suffer from an emergency dental problem, contact Hospitality Dental for fast, effective help in stabilizing the situation. For more information on what Hospitality Dental can do for you in the case of an emergency, contact us today.

Phone: (702) 874-3731