Many of us never think of the possibility of a dental emergency until it is upon us. One of the most critical aspects of choosing a dentist should be their emergency dental care policy. Will the dentist be available after hours to answer questions or to open the office? Will my family be prepared in case of a dental emergency? Do we know what number to call?
Fortunately, many dentists choose to give their patients 24/7 access via cell phone to at least give advice or prescribe medicine after hours. While others will even open the office after hours when needed. There are also, many who choose to use an answering service or not be available at all for an after hours dental emergency.
Common Dental Emergencies
-Chipped or broken teeth. This dental emergency may or may not be a painful event or it may be only cosmetic depending on the severity of the chip or break. Teeth can fracture or crack in all manner of ways and can create a true dental emergency. Your emergency dentist will be available to relieve pain and also restore your tooth to its natural form and function.
-Knocked-Out Tooth (also called a tooth avulsion). This occurs from direct trauma. Timing is everything! The key here is to re-implant the tooth as soon as possible to give it the best chance for success over the long term. If it hasn’t fallen out completely, try pushing it immediately back in, your dentist can do any necessary tweaking. Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown or head (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), do not touch the root. Rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. Leave the rest to your emergency dentist.
-Toothaches/Infection. This can happen when tooth decay invades the nerve of the tooth, trauma causes the tooth to die, or periodontal disease is left untreated. The bacteria in the mouth invade the tooth and surrounding bone. This causes the body to respond, which leads to the swelling, pain, and infection. If left untreated this can be a life threatening situation. Call your dentist immediately for this dental emergency.
-Objects caught between teeth. This dental emergency may seem minor but it can be quite uncomfortable and scary. A dentist has the proper tools to remove any and all foreign objects in between teeth.
-Lost Dental Filling. This dental emergency usually occurs when there is tooth decay present in or around the restoration. The bond between dental material and the tooth will break down causing the restoration to break loose. Depending on how large the restoration is this can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort.
-Broken Braces And Wires. This may seem like a minor dental emergency but a broken bracket or wire can be very uncomfortable and can even cause trauma to the oral tissues. Contact your dentist for advice in your particular situation.
Dental Emergency Conclusion
An emergency dentist that is available 24/7 is an important asset to have for you and your family. You never know when a dental emergency will arise and don’t you want the peace of mind to know your family is protected? Not all dentists make themselves available after hours for a dental emergency so it is important to ask your dentist if they will come to your rescue in the event of a dental emergency.