When you incur trauma to your teeth such as a broken or dislodged tooth, pain, bleeding or cuts to the gums or inside of the mouth, emergency dental services are available to provide immediate care.
While we don’t plan for emergencies, most dentists can modify their schedules to see patients who are experiencing distress, even after regular office hours. Please call your dentist’s office immediately to receive instructions. Depending on the type and severity of the trauma, he or she may recommend that you visit your local emergency room first. Or you may be instructed to come into the dental office as quickly as possible.
In a dental emergency, time is of the essence. The more quickly you can take action, the more likely it is that your dentist can save the tooth or prevent further damage or trauma.
Here are some of the more common traumas that require immediate care:
Knocked Out Tooth/Teeth
If a tooth becomes knocked out, pick it up by the crown without touching the root. If it is dirty, rinse it quickly with water. Then place the tooth back into the tooth socket if you can. If you cannot replace the lost tooth into the tooth socket, place it into a cup of milk—not water—or wrap it in a cool, wet cloth and get to the dentist immediately. Many knocked-out teeth can be re-implanted successfully within 30 minutes.
If a tooth or a restoration is cracked or chipped and you are not in pain, this is not considered a dental emergency. Contact your dentist to set an appointment and avoid chewing on that side of the mouth. If the damage is severe, or you are experiencing pain, contact your dental office immediately for an emergency appointment.
Facial fractures that include broken bones or teeth are treated as a medical emergency. You should be seen at your hospital emergency room immediately. Once you are out of danger, set an appointment with your dentist to review and repair dental damage.
Infections or Abscesses
If you are experiencing an infection around the gums or abscess, this can indicate a serious and often painful condition that should be treated immediately. You don’t want the infection to spread to other areas in the body.
Broken Dental Appliances
A broken dental appliance like a bridge or braces can create injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. You should be seen by a dentist to fix these dental appliances as soon as possible to avoid oral health issues.
Is it a Dental Emergency?
Instead of self-diagnosing whether any of the above-mentioned conditions are dental emergencies, let your dentist decide. Call and explain the issue, and your dentist will give you further instructions on what to do. You may be sent to the emergency room, fit into an emergency dental treatment, or scheduled for an appointment.
Having regular dental checkups can help you avoid a dental emergency. During your cleaning and checkup your dentist will look for issues such as cracked, loose or chipped teeth, signs of decay, or problems caused by grinding or clenching, and recommend solutions to remediate any problems. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to tooth loss, infection or pain.