What is Emergency Dentistry?
Emergency dentistry refers to treatment in response to trauma to the mouth or another condition that cannot wait a couple of days to see the dentist. Some people don’t know if they should go to the emergency room or call their dentist, and the answer is, there’s a time for both.
Emergency Dentistry: The ER or the Dentist?
You should go to the ER if you have a life-threatening condition, like a large dental abscess limiting your ability to breathe and swallow. Also, if you broke your jaw, you’d need to visit the ER. Serious medical issues like these are best addressed by hospital staff.
If you have a or a small chip or crack in your tooth don’t visit an ER or urgent care center. These facilities don’t hire dentists and can’t treat the underlying causes of toothaches. Most states ban non-dentists from extracting teeth and performing other dental work. Our dentists will be able to diagnose and treat the source of your dental pain, restoring your oral health.
Examples of Dental Emergencies
If you’re experiencing intense pain or have a deep cut in your mouth, then you should call our emergency dentists as soon as possible even if it is outside normal business hours. Examples of include:
- Swollen/bleeding gums
- Dental abscess
- Severe toothache
- Knocked-out tooth
- Inflammation around wisdom teeth
- Broken/loose tooth
- Large crack or chip in the tooth
- Pain while chewing
Generally, if you can wait a couple of days, it’s not an emergency. However, you still want to schedule an appointment sooner rather than later so the problem doesn’t worsen and become an emergency. Some examples are:
- Small chip or crack in the tooth
- Lost filling, crown, or bridge
- Mild toothache
Steps to Take if Your Mouth Is Bleeding
Start by gently rinsing the inside of your mouth with warm water. Then you need to identify what is bleeding. If it is your tongue, gently pull it forward and apply pressure on the cut with gauze. If it is your gums or cheek, apply pressure with gauze.
Next, have someone call our office since it will be difficult to talk when holding your tongue/applying pressure in your mouth. If you’re experiencing any pain, we recommend taking acetaminophen as directed on the box’s label. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen because these are anticoagulants and taking them will make you bleed more!
Steps to Take if Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out
Find your tooth and pick it up by the crown, which is the part you use to chew, and be sure not to touch the root to avoid potentially damaging it. Next, place a towel or washcloth over the drain of the sink because you need to rinse your tooth but you don’t want to lose it. Do not use any soap, scrub, or other chemicals because they can harm your tooth.
If possible, place the tooth back in its socket. If that’s not possible, you want to make sure the tooth is always kept moist. One of the best ways to do this is to keep it in milk (whole milk works best). Do not use tap or bottled water because the root surface cells will eventually swell and burst.
If there’s no milk readily available you can put it in your mouth either under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums because it will stay the moistest there. Just be sure you don’t accidentally swallow it.
Request an Appointment
At Robinson Dental, our Wayland & Coopersville, MI dentists provide emergency dentistry to address your dental problem as soon as possible. To make an appointment, give our office a call at (586) 992-9222.