Ever since COVID-19 temporarily shut down elective dental procedures, there have been a lot of questions about dental emergencies and confusion on what to do.
But we want to help!
In this blog, we will discuss the importance of a dental emergency consultation, including:
- Types of dental emergencies (with instructions on what to do!)
- How to know if you have a dental emergency
- When you should go to the emergency room vs. the dentist
- How going to the dentist for emergency dentistry can save you money
- Tips on how to avoid a dental emergency
1. What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is a dental problem that requires immediate treatment. Failure to get treatment may result in severe pain, tooth loss, extensive and expensive treatment(s), or harm to your oral, and possibly overall health.
Common dental emergencies include:
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Unusual swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain in a tooth, teeth, or jaw bone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- A broken or knocked-out tooth
- Loose adult tooth
- Damaged or lost restoration (filling, crown, denture, bridge, etc.)
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Numb tooth
- Dental abscess
For quick instructions on what to do in these scenarios, reference our other blog:
2. How do you know if you have a dental emergency?
Sometimes it’s obvious when you are experiencing a dental emergency. Like accidentally knocking-out an adult tooth or unbearable tooth pain.
Some dental scenarios may be unclear if they require emergency dental care. You may think that because you aren’t experiencing any pain or don’t mind your broken tooth, you can wait to visit your dentist for treatment.
But here’s the problem with that:
Avoiding or delaying dental care will more than likely demand additional dental care down the road. AKA more time, money, pain, and trips to the dentist (which we know isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do).
That’s why we recommend calling your dentist for a dental emergency consultation ASAP.
Dental emergency consultations allow you to explain your symptoms to a dental professional with extensive knowledge on the matter (hotline nurses can’t exactly provide you with the same level of expertise).
Then they can advise whether you need immediate care or if it can wait.
They can provide you with pain-relieving tips, so you can at least be comfortable until you can come in for a proper diagnosis.
Now, we understand that not all dentists offer emergency dental care, which leads us to our next point …
3. Where do you go for dental emergency care?
A lot of people are unclear if you should go to the hospital or dentist for dental emergency care, especially when it’s after your dentist’s regular business hours.
So we’ll make it simple:
- Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience a life-threatening emergency. This includes jaw fractures, jaw discolorations, infection or abscess that affect your breathing or swallowing, and serious cuts or lacerations.
- Call an emergency dentist if you experience a dental emergency that is not life-threatening but requires immediate attention. For example, if you experience any of the scenarios in question two.
4. Why should you go to a dentist for an emergency?
Here’s what you need to know about emergency dentistry:
Most emergency rooms do not have dentists on staff. So if you go to them for dental emergency care, they may only be able to provide you with pain killers and antibiotics.
By just treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause, 39%… This text opens a new tab to the statistic… of patients return to the ER.
To properly treat your dental emergency, you will still need to visit your dentist for treatment.
You will end up with an ER bill and a dental bill.
By going to a dentist first, you can get your dental problem treated correctly.
With dental emergencies, time is of the essence. Choosing between going to an emergency room or your dentist may be the difference between saving your tooth vs. losing it.
If you have an infected tooth pulp (the inside of your tooth), you will need a root canal and a crown to restore it afterward.
But if you delay getting it treated, that infection may spread, and you’ll lose that opportunity to save your tooth. Your only option then is to extract the tooth, which is said to be more painful… This text opens a new tab to the source… than a root canal. To restore your tooth, you will need a dental implant, bridge, or denture, which are all traditionally more expensive than a crown.
Not to mention, you will lose the health benefits of having saved your natural tooth!
5. How to avoid a dental emergency
Luckily, you can take steps to prevent a dental emergency from happening.
- Brush twice a day
- Floss daily
- Visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months
- Complete recommended dental treatments
- Don’t use your teeth to open packages or bottles
- Eat a balanced diet
- Don’t chew on hard foods or items
- Wear a mouthguard while playing sports
If there’s one take away from this blog, it’s this:
Don’t hesitate to call your dentist for a dental emergency consultation!
It’s better to be safe than sorry, and we’re pretty positive your dentist would prefer to see you with a smile full of healthy teeth!
Need a dental emergency consultation now?
Our Palm Beach Gardens dentist, Dr. Andrew Rudnick, offers emergency dentistry for new and current patients.
He uses his advanced training to quickly get you out of pain and provide the ideal treatment without judgment (even if you haven’t been in for a while).
Our dental office, Rudnick Dentistry, is located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and serves the surrounding communities of West Palm Gardens, Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach, and Wellington.