Dental emergencies are extremely stressful, scary, and painful. Learning what to do and how to handle such situations will help you be prepared should you or your child experience a dental emergency and your dentist’s office is closed for the day or even the weekend.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Just because you are experiencing slight discomfort or even tooth sensitivity that doesn’t mean you are experiencing a dental emergency. Before you pick up the phone or rush to the emergency room, it is important that you know what needs to be dealt with right away and what is urgent, but can wait until when your dentist has an available appointment.
Situations and problems that are often considered dental emergencies include the following:
- Bleeding that occurs anywhere in the mouth that doesn’t seem to be stopping or slowing down
- Loose permanent tooth
- Permanent tooth that has been knocked out or severely broken
- Painful swelling that occurs in the cheeks, inside the mouth, or around the gums
- Injured jaw
- Extreme pain from a toothache
All of the problems listed are considered dental emergencies. They should be handled immediately to avoid any severe problems from occurring. These dental emergencies can be handled by your dentist, orthodontist, local emergency dental clinic, or an emergency department.
Some Dental Problems are Serious, but Not Emergencies
Some dental problems need to be dealt with quickly, but not immediately. These problems may be slightly painful or uncomfortable, but you are at no risk of severe health problems, such as infection, fractured bones, or going into shock.
Some dental problems that are considered non-urgent dental emergencies include:
- Filling that fell out
- Dental crown or bridge that is loose or has fallen off
- Food that has become stuck between your teeth
- Dull toothache that can be treated with aspirin
- Damage to a retainer or night guard
- Damage to braces
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
Non-urgent dental emergencies should be handled quickly, but they do not need to be handled right away. If you experience any of these problems, you will not want to wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment with your dentist. You will want to schedule a new appointment, but it doesn’t have to be the next day or even after hours. It can be the next available appointment.
When a Dental Emergency Occurs Who Do You Call?
The first person you should contact during a dental emergency is your regular dentists. If your dental emergency occurs during regular office hours, you can typically call the office and they will help determine if you need to be seen right away or if it can wait.
When a dental emergency happens after hours, it can be tricky to know who to contact. Some dental offices have emergency numbers you can call or an answering service that will take calls after hours. If your dental office has these types of services, call them in the event of a dental emergency. If your dental office doesn’t offer these types of services, you may want to visit an emergency dental clinic that is usually open on the weekends and in the evenings or you can visit the emergency room.
How to Handle a Dental Emergency at Home
Sometimes it isn’t always possible to get to the dentist right away. Luckily, there are a few things you can do at home to help relieve any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing from a dental emergency.
Some things you can do at home to help with a dental emergency include:
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water and salt. This will help reduce any swelling that is occurring.
- Place any tooth that has broken or been knocked out into a glass of milk.
- Gently floss your teeth if you have a dull pain. Sometimes pain is caused by food that has become stuck between your teeth.
- Use ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling and relieve some of your pain
- Quickly rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide to relieve any irritation and to kill bacteria
If you live in the Largo, Florida area and experience a dental emergency, first remain calm and then call Bonham Dental Arts. We will gladly fit you into our schedule should a dental emergency occur during office hours. If the dental emergency occurs after hours, we have an emergency service that can take your call.