What is Emergency Dental Care?
You know about at home dental care is important so you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and you visit the dentist for twice yearly professional cleanings and checkups. But you can’t schedule all your dental appointments six months ahead of time. You may get in an accident or you may wake up with severe pain in your mouth and need to see a dentist sooner than you planned. And your accident may even happen on a day your usual dentist’s office is closed or at a time when the office has already stopped seeing patients for the day. These are the times you need to determine whether you can wait for a regular dental appointment or you need to see the dentist immediately.
Are all injuries and pain in your mouth dental emergencies (Smile Eden Prairie)? No. But spending extra time and money going to dentist when you could have waited for a regular appointment is a very good reason to avoid extra trips if possible. Common oral injuries that result from accidents are chipped or cracked teeth, knocked out teeth, or broken teeth. Depending on the tooth and where it is located in your mouth can determine how painful the injury is. The more serious the injury, the more important it is that you seek immediate medical attention. If the nerve is exposed, and your pain level will indicate that the nerve is exposed, the more important it is that you immediately seek medical attention. If you knocked out a permanent tooth, the injury may be more complicated than it seems to you. In order for your mouth to heal and to minimize the likelihood of an infection setting in, you need to see a dental professional urgently.
If you have cracked or chipped your tooth from biting down onto a hard piece of food or a fall, you can probably wait for an appointment until your dentist’s office is open during business hours. However, some cracks are more serious and extend below the gumline. These cracks allow bacteria into the usually sterile root and nerve tissue. If you fear that you have a serious crack, you broke a large piece or all of your tooth out of your mouth or you are not sure, immediate dental attention is the best decision to prevent more serious issues later.
When the accident has caused you to a large enough piece of your tooth that you can hold it, it is best not to handle the piece too much. After you rinse off any visible dirt, taking care not to lose the tooth in the drain, you can store the tooth or the tooth piece in milk or even in saliva until a dental professional can assess your injury.
When the accident has resulted in a knocked-out tooth, take care to not handle the tooth too much either. If you can, place the tooth back into the socket by biting down to hold it in place. If you are likely to swallow the tooth by attempting this, then just store the tooth in a container with milk or saliva. To keep the tooth in place in the socket, you can try to use damp gauze or even a wet (not hot) tea bag. If the socket is bleeding, you should use a cold and wet compress to slow the bleeding and reduce the swelling.
If your pain is not from an acute traumatic event leaving you with a completely extracted tooth or a chipped tooth, but the level of pain is severe, you may be suffering from an infection or an abscess tooth. If you have relentless tooth pain, you should try to call your dental office. The dentist may have appointments available daily for serious conditions other than regular tooth cleaning or the dentist may be able to suggest ways to feel more comfortable until your appointment. If not, the dentist may even have suggestions for local emergency dental references. Even when the dentist’s office is closed, the answering service or machine may have a recommended emergency clinic. If your dentist’s office is closed, you have no suggested emergency dental professional, the emergency room should be able to offer you treatment until you can see a dental professional.
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