What Constitutes an Emergency?
There are two primary reasons for coming in for an emergency dental appointment. The first is that you’ve sustained an injury to the teeth or jaw, with or without visible concerns such as broken, chipped or knocked out teeth. The second reason to come in for an emergency dental appointment is if you are experiencing pain that over-the-counter pain relievers are not managing.
The mouth and face in general are very vascular which means that even small cuts can produce a lot more blood than you’d expect. For this reason, injuries to the face can appear much more severe than they truly are. For those with an aversion to the sight of blood, it can be difficult not to panic at the sight of it. Remaining calm in the face of an injury, however, is the best way to handle an emergency.
It can be difficult to determine whether to head to an emergency room at a hospital, or whether you need an emergency dental appointment. In general, if there has not been an injury to the teeth, lacerations can be stitched up by a medical doctor, but when teeth are involved it’s best to consult with a dentist. Still not sure? We recommend calling our clinic and speaking with one of our front desk staff. By explaining your symptoms and concerns, we will assist you in determining who you need to see.
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If your tooth is chipped or broken, the first thing to do is to collect the tooth fragments. In many cases, your dentist can use dental compounds to bond the pieces back together. If your mouth is bleeding, rinse it with cool, clean water. Teeth fragments can be rinsed, but not scrubbed – we recommend placing a cloth over the sink drain to ensure that tooth fragments do not escape down the drain.
Once the piece(s) of tooth has been gently rinsed, it can be stored in your cheek pocket on the way to the dental clinic. Call us on the way to let us know what has occurred, and we will make every effort to see you or direct you to the first available emergency dentist.
If your tooth has been knocked out, it is important to get in to see us within 30 minutes of it occurring. For this reason, we will encourage you to see a dentist near to you if you are not within a 30-minute drive from us. We are happy to assist you once the immediate concern has abated – the most important thing is to get in to see someone to save your tooth. Some knockouts are not fully dislodged. Some may remain in the socket but will be painful and unstable.
If this is the case, keep the tooth in the socket by biting down gently until you arrive at your emergency dental appointment. If the tooth is fully knocked-out, handle the tooth by its crown (not its root). Delicate tissue on the root should be gently rinsed but never scrubbed. If you can replace the tooth in the socket, do so. If the tooth does not slide in easily, keep it in your cheek pocket and place a thick piece of gauze over the socket, biting down gently to reduce bleeding.
Tooth infections are undeniably painful until the nerve within the tooth dies, which we would prefer to avoid. If, however, your terrible tooth ache stops hurting suddenly, take this as a sign that you need to get to a dentist right away.
Other than pain, signs of infection include a bitter, sour or metallic taste at the site of the pain and the possibility of a pimple on the gums. If you see pus, you have an infection. Do not attempt to drain a pustule, and never apply heat as this is likely to worsen the pain. If you see signs of infection, call our office and request an emergency dental appointment. Use an ice pack on the outside of the cheek to control pain until you can get in to see us.
Tooth infections are serious because they can spread to other areas of the body. If you suspect that you have an infection, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. If your dentist prescribes a course of antibiotics to help kill the infection, take the medication as directed and ensure that you take the full course of treatment.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today!
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We are always welcoming new patients at Wild Rose Dental. Please contact us by phone or online to book with us today!