Do you know when to visit an emergency dentist instead of your regular care provider? In the event of a dental emergency, seeing your regular dentist may come at a high cost.
Many dentists are not available on an emergency basis after hours. While most injuries can wait a day or so, there are some that need immediate care. You can lose a tooth if these injuries are not treated in a quick manner. For this reason, you need to see an emergency dentist who has immediate openings and extended hours.
WHEN TO SEE AN EMERGENCY DENTIST
Many dental emergencies are due to sports injuries or traffic accidents. Any impact to the face can result in an injury that will require the skills of an emergency dentist. Below are a few of the most common emergencies that these dentists see.
When a tooth is knocked loose, try to hold it in place and keep it stabilized. Call the dentist for an emergency appointment right away. Hold it in place using light pressure with a finger or by biting down and keeping it from moving. Do not play with the tooth as it could fall out.
CHIPPED OR CRACKED TOOTH
When a tooth is chipped, it does not always hurt. If there is no pain, then it can wait for normal business hours. This only goes for minor chips. If it is painful, cracked or fractured, you must seek immediate dental care.
A fractured or cracked tooth will require an X-ray to determine the severity of the damage. In some cases, a root canal is necessary.
When a sudden impact to the face results in a knocked-out tooth, you need to see an emergency dentist. The window of opportunity to reattach the lost tooth is quite small. The faster you see a dentist, the higher the chances are of saving the tooth.
Take these steps to increase the chance that the tooth can be re-attached:
- When handling the tooth do not touch the roots, only hold it by the top
- Clean the tooth by rinsing it off with saliva or milk, do not use water
- Place the tooth gently back into the empty socket it fell from and hold it in place
- If the tooth cannot be put in the socket, store it in milk
- Get to the dentist in less than an hour
INJURY TO THE LIPS, CHEEKS, MOUTH OR TONGUE
A wound to the lips, cheeks, mouth or tongue can be treated by an emergency dentist or at the emergency room. Rinse your mouth with water and apply gauze to stop the bleeding.
HOW TO AVOID A DENTAL EMERGENCY
Accidents cannot be completely avoided but some steps can be taken to better your chances. Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sports or other dangerous activities. Avoid biting into hard foods, candies and ice. These are known to chip and fracture teeth.
If you ever have an injury, call our office to see an emergency dentist.