When trauma happens to your teeth or mouth, it’s natural to want to seek emergency help. However, the emergency room is not always the first place you should go.
A dental office that has emergency services offers an ideal solution if you have symptoms that indicate a tooth, gum, tongue, or jaw condition. The important thing to know is when you should go to the emergency dentist instead of the emergency room.
When Should You Go to an Emergency Dentist
Before you call a dental office that provides emergency dental services, make sure you need immediate attention. Here are the symptoms that indicate you should head straight to the car and get to your dentist.
Significant Damage to Your Teeth
If your tooth is entirely or mostly out of the socket, or large pieces of it are broken off, emergency services are necessary to save the tooth. The nerve can die if you don't get immediate attention for the problem, whether that's securing the tooth back in place or sealing the tooth to fix the damage.
Severe Mouth Pain
Don't ignore severe mouth pain. Your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, particularly if it doesn't get better within 30 minutes. Try a first aid combination that includes anti-inflammatories, an ice pack and rinsing your mouth with saltwater. If your pain levels remain too high to bear, an emergency dentist can perform diagnostic testing to help you feel better.
Pus Drainage or Visible Abscess
Teeth can become infected much like other body parts, and pus or an abscess indicate that something has gone wrong. You need antibiotics to combat this bacterial infection, and the dentist can schedule you for the necessary follow-ups to address the cavity or decay in the tooth.
Mouth or Gum Bleeding That Doesn't Stop
A slight mouth bleed from biting your lips or tongue can be irritating and uncomfortable, but it's not anything to worry about if it stops within a few minutes. If the bleeding persists, a dental office that provides emergency services can address this before you run into problems from the blood loss. However, if the blood is coming out of your mouth rapidly, head straight to the emergency room.
Visible Swelling That Doesn't Improve
Are your gums or face swollen? Is your jaw hard to move or impossible to shut correctly? This painful symptom may indicate an infection in a tooth or within your gums. You need to head right to your dentist to get antibiotics and begin a treatment course so the infection can't spread.
How to Get an Emergency Dental Appointment
So, you fall under one of the categories above, and you need help right away. While there are no such things as Emergency Dentists that are just available for emergencies, many dental offices have emergency services. If the dental emergency happens during normal business hours, call your regular dentist to see if they have open slots. Otherwise, search for other dental offices that provide emergency dental services in your area.
You put yourself in the best position for a good outcome when you know when to go to the emergency dentist rather than the ER. Your teeth and mouth require specialized care to accurately diagnose the problems and come up with an effective treatment plan.