When you begin to experience pain and discomfort in the head and neck region, contacting your dentist should be the first line of action. However, what happens when you begin to feel pain at odd hours or during the weekend?
In the event that you begin to feel pain in your mouth late at night, on holidays, or during the weekend, you should be prepared to meet with an emergency dentist who will take a look at the problem and address it appropriately.
In most cases, many patients do not know what makes a dental emergency and this may cause a problem for them. The top dentist at Metro Dental has however cleared up the doubts by explaining what a dental emergency is.
What is a dental emergency?
Many people experience dental emergencies far more frequently than they admit to themselves. A current statistic by the American Family Physicians reveals that no less than 22 percent of the patient population suffer dental emergencies over a six-month period.
Although dental emergencies are high, not every dental problem qualifies as a dental emergency. To establish whether you have a dental emergency or not, consider the following;
- Tooth loss – when dealing with tooth loss, quick attention can save the affected tooth
- Severe pain – if you are experiencing severe pain or bleeding in the gum, then there is a need to visit the dentist as fast as possible.
- Dental infections – if you have noticed inflammation or swelling of the gum or you notice knots on the gum which may also lead to swollen face, this is a sign of infection and needs to be addressed as fast as possible. Leaving infections unattended can lead to a bigger dental problem that may lead to teeth loss or even death.
- Loose teeth – If you notice that your teeth have come loose, even without the associated pain, you need to see a dentist as fast as possible to take a look at the problem and address it head-on.
- Bleeding – if you notice blood gushing out from unknown areas of your mouth, this is an indication of a dental emergency.
In essence, a dental emergency is considered as any dental problem that requires immediate attention and care. If you are experiencing unbearable pain in the mouth, this is a major indication of a dental emergency and should be attended to as fast as possible.
What looks like a dental emergency but isn’t?
There are certain dental problems that appear similar to dental emergencies and may even be mistaken as one but isn’t. Below are some of the common dental problems that should not be mistaken as a dental emergency.
- Broken tooth – when you have a broken tooth arising from physical impact or other trauma, rest assured that you do not need an emergency care service. However, if the broken tooth has left sharp fragments in the gum that is traumatizing your mouth, then it may be considered a dental emergency as this has the ability to degenerate into a complex dental problem.
- Toothache – you can delay toothache treatment if the pain isn’t unbearable. If you feel the pain is something that can wait for some hours or a day before you get to the dentist, then it is recommended that you wait.
- Lost crown or filling – if you have lost your dental crown or tooth filling, rest assured that there is no cause for alarm as you can always visit a dentist to get this problem addressed at any time of your choosing.
Handling dental emergencies
There are some common dental emergencies that require urgent care and attention. Below are some of these emergencies and how to address them pending your arrival at the dentists.
If your tooth has been knocked out due to physical impact or other reasons, do these;
- Carefully pick up the knocked-out tooth by the crown. It is recommended that you avoid touching the root.
- Rinse the tooth without scrubbing
- Re-insert the tooth into the socket or place it in a glass of milk. In the absence of milk, get a pool of your saliva and soak the tooth in it.
- Get to an emergency dentist as fast as possible.
If you have a dental abscess, this is an indication of a serious infection. Getting to an emergency dentist on time could make a difference between a full-blown infection across the mouth and a localized infection.
While searching for a dentist, use salt water to rinse your mouth as many times as you can a day.