Your Emergency Dental Care Questions – Answered!
A dental emergency can happen at any time. The reality is, emergencies do not revolve around working hours. So what should you do if your dental problem happens on a weekend or a holiday? And how do you know what qualifies as an emergency?
Know when to call for emergency dental services and understand when an issue can wait a day or two.
Not all dental problems are emergencies that require immediate attention. Gulf Coast Dental has the answers. Use this guide to understand the difference between a dental problem that can wait and a health-threatening emergency.
What is Emergency Dental Care?
Emergency dental care cannot wait until working hours. If your situation puts your health at risk or you fear you may lose a permanent tooth, then it is an emergency.
For instance, adult teeth should never come loose and crowns are not temporary. If you aren’t clear about what qualifies as a dental emergency, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is my mouth bleeding? Healthy gums and mouths don’t bleed. This is a telltale sign of an emergency.
- Am I in severe pain? Pain is your body’s way of communicating that something is wrong. Severe pain can signal an emergency.
- Do I have an infection? An oral infection can spread through your lymph nodes and cause serious health problems. If your face is swollen or you notice knots on your gums, seek immediate treatment.
- Are my teeth loose? Adult teeth are permanent and should never feel loose. A loose tooth is a sign of a serious problem.
- Am I missing a tooth? With fast action, it is possible to save an adult tooth.
When Can Dental Care Wait?
Not all situations require emergency dental services. If you can wait a day or two to visit the dentist, then your situation is not an emergency. Sometimes you can put a problem on hold – as long as you take care of yourself and the pain is not severe.
Small, painless chips or a mild toothache qualify as problems that need treatment but aren’t emergencies. If you chip a tooth but aren’t in severe pain, you can wait a day or two before visiting the dentist.
Similarly, if you have a mild toothache with no signs of an infection, you can wait for treatment.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency cannot wait a day or two. Address these issues immediately to avoid further health complications. Here are some common dental emergencies.
Knocked-Out or Broken Tooth
Again, small painless chips are not emergencies. However, if you have a painful broken or knocked-out tooth, seek immediate treatment.
Exposed Tooth Nerve
Exposed nerves cause severe pain and put you at risk of nerve damage. Waiting for treatment is not advised as the symptoms will only get worse.
Severe Unexplained Toothache
As previously mentioned, mild toothaches with no signs of swelling can wait a day or two before seeing the dentist. Alternately, do not ignore a sudden severe toothache.
Swelling in Gums or Jaw
Swelling is a warning sign of poor health – be it an infection, irritated lymph nodes, or other underlying health issues. If you experience sudden swelling in your face or mouth, see your dentist right away.
Missing or Broken Hardware
Fillings, crowns and other dental hardware protect your teeth from infection and damage. If the hardware breaks or comes out, seek treatment right away.
A dental abscess is a sign of infection that can be life-threatening if left untreated. It is important to get immediate dental care to prevent the infection from spreading.
Avoid a Dental Emergency
Practicing good oral hygiene is the first step toward avoiding an emergency. In addition to taking care of your teeth at home, it is also important to schedule regular dental visits. Routine cleanings rid your teeth of plaque build-up. Plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and more dental emergencies.
If you are experiencing chronic tooth pain, swelling or bleeding, contact our office right away.