When Does Emergency Dental Care Become Essential?
If you have a problem with your tooth the first person you should be calling is the emergency dentist. It is well-known that most dentists set aside time for emergency procedures but having the dentists after-hours contact information available with you will help at least an emergency dental exam.
You could be traveling or at home but the following tips can help you manage a dental emergency until you can reach a dentist. Some emergencies may require you to visit your dentist within 30 minutes because it can mean the difference between saving your tooth or having a toothless smile. What kind of dental problems qualifies for emergency dental care?
Loose or Misaligned Teeth
If you have a loose tooth that has become misaligned you should be contacting your dentist for an emergency appointment right away. Until you reach the dentist you can attempt to put the tooth back to its original position by applying light pressure with your finger but without trying to force it down. To keep the tooth from moving you can bite down upon it. Your dentist may decide to splint the tooth to the neighboring teeth to keep it stable.
Fractured, Cracked or Chipped Teeth
A chipped tooth that doesn’t hurt does not qualify as a dental emergency giving you some time until you visit your dentist. You just need to be careful not to chip it even further while chewing. Your dentist can smooth the chip out or add some composite filler to repair the tooth.
A cracked or fractured tooth is a serious issue that qualifies for emergency dental care. You will have swelling in the teeth and some cases, the fracture would have necessitated extraction. You should be calling your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment but in the meanwhile clean your mouth with warm water by gently rinsing. Apply a cold compress to minimize the swelling if the fracture was caused by an impact. The dentist will take x-rays of the tooth to diagnose the condition before offering you the treatment you may need.
What Can Be Considered As a Dental Emergency?
Re-Cementing missing crowns or smoothing a chipped tooth cannot be considered as an emergency especially when they are not painful. These problems can be dealt with by the dentist during regular working hours. Dr. Azi at the dental clinic in Fountain Valley recommends asking yourself the following questions to understand whether you are truly dealing with a dental emergency.
- Are you experiencing bleeding in the mouth?
- Are you in severe pain?
- Have your teeth loosened?
- Have you been hit in the mouth or face?
- Are you observing any swelling in the facial area or the mouth?
- Do you have any swelling in your gums along with bulges or knots?
If your answers to the above questions are positive you may be having a dental emergency and should attempt to contact your dentist immediately. You should explain your situation to the dentist by giving the reasons for the emergency and what you are feeling.
Can Dental Emergencies Be Avoided?
Many dental emergencies are preventable by maintaining proper oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups to ensure your mouth and teeth are healthy and strong and free from decay.
Using a mouthguard when participating in contact sports will prevent your teeth from being knocked out, broken, or chipped. Staying away from hard foods that can break all fracture your teeth is also suggested. Giving up habits like chewing on your fingernails, pencils, ice, and other hard objects will also prove helpful to prevent emergencies.
Dental care will be inaccessible if you are traveling out of the country or leaving on an extended vacation. In such cases, it is important to visit your dentist for a routine checkup before embarking on your journey. Your dentist can identify whether you have any loose crowns, teeth decay near the root that is causing pain and any other problems that can be easily fixed before they turn into a dental emergency on your vacation.
How to Prepare for Dental Emergencies?
Dental emergencies do not have a time and place to occur. Therefore it is best to be prepared and not to panic. Keeping a small dental first-aid kit comprising a container with a lid, gauze, handkerchief, and some acetaminophen will prove beneficial if you ever encounter a dental emergency.