Even the smallest dental problems have the potential to cause pain or interrupt your day. Yet some problems with your teeth qualify as emergencies. In some cases, you’ll need to see a dentist as soon as possible even if it’s a weekend or holiday. Paying for an emergency visit when your issue could easily wait a day or two can leave you adjusting your budget for a month or two to compensate. Make sure you’re taking dental emergencies seriously without worrying you’re running to the dentist too soon with this guide to making the right oral health decision.
Car accidents, trips on icy sidewalks, and other forms of trauma can do serious damage to your jaw. When the bone itself is fractured, severe swelling and pain will set in. Even just a bad bruise on the bone tissue may need the attention of a dentist to ensure there’s no lasting damage to the jaw or tooth roots. An emergency dentist can quickly perform an X-ray and determine if you need the attention of a surgeon or any other medical professional. Don’t wait and see if the swelling goes down or worsens since jaw fractures become more difficult to treat as time passes.
Loose or Knocked Out Teeth
Another problem caused primarily by trauma, a loose tooth needs the dentist’s immediate attention. This is especially true if the tooth has detached from the gums or is broken in some way. An emergency dentist visit may save the tooth, but at the very least it will prevent further complications like infection or gum damage. A damaged tooth can cause other problems beyond just itself if ignored for too long.
Waiting even a few hours to delay treatment for a loose tooth could compromise the chances of it staying in the gum tissue. To maintain a healthy smile, schedule an immediate appointment upon noticing any looseness. Getting the problem treated promptly can make all the difference.
A sudden soreness in a tooth you thought was healthy could reveal a missing filling when you check your mouth in the mirror. While a tooth with an intact filling should be pain-free and strong, the same tooth becomes compromised and a source of pain when the filling falls out. Tooth decay can begin again if the tissue is left exposed for more than a few days. In order to protect the nerves and root of the tooth, it’s important to put a new filling in. An emergency dentist can also address whatever caused the filling to come loose in the first place so it stays stable for the future.
Intense Dental Pain
You don’t need to know exactly what’s wrong to see an emergency dentist. Any sharp, intense, or unusual pain in your teeth, gums, or jaw should be investigated by a dentist. You can wait an hour or two to make sure it’s not just a temporary spasm if there’s no precipitating injury. However, if the pain continues, make an appointment with the emergency dentist. A sudden new development in dental pain could be caused by:
- Rapid growth of an abscess right on a dental nerve
- Impacted wisdom teeth that are pressing on the surrounding molars
- Internal infection inside the tooth roots due to an untreated cavity
- Damage to existing dental work like crowns or veneers.
If you have a fever, dizziness, vomiting, or loss of consciousness along with intense dental pain, consider a stop to the ER instead. Even if the problem is an advanced dental infection, you may need intensive antibiotics first before seeing the dentist.
What Aren’t Dental Emergencies?
Almost any other kind of dental issue isn’t really considered an emergency. An abscess that doesn’t cause a fever or severe pain needs prompt treatment, but it can often wait a day or two until you can get a regular appointment. Chipped teeth, cavities, and even mildly bleeding or swollen gums aren’t necessarily worth the cost of an emergency dentist. Obviously, long-term issues like gum disease aren’t best treated only at the emergency dentist but rather during routine visits.
Of course, it’s really up to you. If your dental issue is keeping you from eating, drinking, or sleeping, it’s worth the visit even if it seems relatively simple. You may be prioritized after other patients with more severe issues, but most emergency dentists will be happy to see you regardless if you feel you need help.
Still not sure if you need emergency help or not? You can always call us here at Eastgate Dental Excellence during our usual business hours for our professional opinion. If we can’t help, we can refer you to a dentist offering emergency treatment during unusual hours and holidays. Don’t let your dental problems go without attention when you have plenty of options for both emergency and routine care.