Dental Emergency? What should you do?

Sometimes life can take an unexpected turn. In between busy work/school schedules, child-rearing, outside projects, the unexpected can upend our plans and make life a little more challenging. For instance, dental hygiene, while an ordinary mundane routine that most people partake in, becomes more complicated when an emergency happens. Sometimes teeth are chipped or broken, sometimes trauma or accidents can lead to serious mouth injuries. Among the stress and pressure of everyday life, a mouth injury can cause even more pain, anguish, and stress if not treated promptly and properly. The importance of regular dental visits is matched by the importance of knowing when to visit a dentist or an emergency room when one is faced with a dental emergency.

What is a dental emergency?

First, one must be able to discern what is and isn’t a dental emergency. A dental emergency is a condition that affects the functionality of your mouth, teeth and lips. If you experience any severe swelling or bleeding, it is best to contact 911 and head to the emergency room immediately. However, not all dental emergencies require visits to the ER right away, but can wait until you are able to see your dentist, such as:

  • Toothaches
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Knocked out teeth: (Re-implanting a tooth as a higher chance of success the sooner you are able to get to a dentist)
  • Partially dislodged teeth
  • Lost Filling or Crown
  • Abscesses: (Because of the possibility of the spread of infection, those suffering from abscesses are encouraged to see their dentist as soon as possible)
  • Broken braces or wires

If any of these emergencies apply to you, it is best to see your dentist as soon as possible, but not necessary to attend the ER. These conditions, while serious, have simple home remedies that can found online to help alleviate any pain or discomfort until you are able to see your dentist. Remember however, if the problem becomes more severe to contact 911 or head to your nearest ER.

When should I go to the ER?

Dental injuries can be sustained through all sorts of activities, car accidents, sports injuries, and/or falls. If there has been severe trauma to the head, neck or face, you must seek emergency treatment in a hospital immediately. Symptoms following this type of trauma may include: bleeding from the nose or ears, concussions, dizziness, lapse in memory or broken skull or jaw bones. Fractures to the upper or lower jaws should be treated and set by oral surgeons within an emergency room setting. For new parents if a child has lost one of their premature teeth it is recommended you go the emergency room immediately, as mentioned before re-implantation of a lost tooth has a higher success rate the sooner it is replaced. If swelling or bleeding occur for any reason (especially in children) head to the emergency room immediately.

Dental injuries can be traumatizing, but with the right response to a dental emergency you can rest assured you’ll be able to maintain a beautiful smile.


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