Seeking Emergency Dental Care
Emergency Dental Care | Accidents can cause dental problems at any time, from a sports injury to biting into a hard piece of food. Some problems can be handled at home. Others can’t wait until your next dentist appointment. Knowing which problems need emergency dental care can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital.
Toothaches can cause pain levels anywhere from uncomfortable to severe, making it difficult to eat, work and sleep. Lasting symptoms may signal tooth decay, a cracked tooth or loose filling. Any ongoing pain is worth a call to your dentist’s office. Over-the-counter medications can help control the pain until you see your dentist.
A chipped tooth can sometimes wait until you can make a call to your dentist. Depending on the severity, or if a large piece is missing, cracked or broken teeth may require emergency dental care. Rinse your mouth with warm water and control swelling by applying a cold compress to your jaw. Wrap the tooth fragment in a wet cloth and bring it with you to the dentist.
If a tooth is loosened in an accident, call your dentist. A tooth that’s been knocked out requires immediate dental care. Rinse the tooth if it is dirty, taking care not to wash off any attached tissues. Hold the tooth by the crown with a clean cloth and insert the tooth back in its socket. If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth, hold it under your tongue, being careful not to swallow the tooth, and seek emergency dental care right away. You can also place the tooth in a container of milk or your saliva until you can see a professional.
For a broken jaw, hold a cold compress or ice-filled cloth to your face and head to an emergency dental clinic or emergency room immediately.
No matter what problem you’re experiencing, call your dentist before seeking emergency dental care. They may be able to schedule you for an appointment quickly. Even if the office is closed, there may be a message on the answering machine with emergency instructions.