Dental emergencies can happen anywhere, but they almost always tend to pop up when it’s the most inconvenient (like over the weekend or when you’re out of town.) So here are some dental care tips for managing pain or trauma to your teeth between dental checkups.
Common Types of Dental Emergencies
An emergency can affect a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. Some of the most common types of dental emergencies we see are things like:
- Tooth pain or tooth sensitivity
- Cut tongue or gum tissues
- Abscessed teeth
- Broken, chipped, or knocked-out teeth
- Objects stuck between teeth
- Trauma from recreational activities
- Filling or dental crown coming loose
How to Handle a Dental Emergency
If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, try to stay calm. Whether it’s one or more teeth involved, the key is to act quickly, try to locate any broken tooth fragments, and manage pain with the right medication. Next, contact your dentist.
Regardless of what time of day your dental emergency occurs, your dental care team will be there to answer questions and help put your mind at ease. Most importantly, they’ll walk you through what to do next for your dental emergency.
Can the Emergency Room Help with a Dental Emergency?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes emergency patients make is going to the hospital for emergency dental care. Emergency rooms lack the resources, technology, and healthcare providers to render dental emergency services.
Issues like cracked teeth, dental abscesses, or decay will have to be treated by a dentist. The best an emergency room can do is provide immediate pain relief, but it will not prevent the discomfort from returning (because of active, untreated dental issues.)
On the other hand, there are some dental emergencies where you need to head straight to the hospital emergency room. Such as when car accidents or other serious facial trauma are involved.
If you suspect that you have a broken jaw or there is serious facial swelling or uncontrollable bleeding, the American Dental Association recommends going to the closest hospital ER.
Major traumatic injuries or work-related accidents that are life-threatening will need urgent medical care. Your dental care providers can address other dental emergencies after more serious, life-threatening conditions are tended to.
What to Do for a Toothache if the Dentist’s Office is Closed
If you need to see a dentist as soon as possible but the office is closed, you should still call our Murrieta dentist. Some of the most common dental emergencies can be treated with a cold compress, rinsing with warm water, and taking anti-inflammatory medication over the weekend. In contrast, others need treatment by a dentist as soon as possible. When a dental emergency occurs, call our dental office, and we’ll walk you through what to do next.
We may need to meet you for same-day dental care for serious dental injuries or oral pain. Whereas sensitive teeth, small areas of tooth decay, or mildly swollen gum tissue can wait until the next business day.
Bottom line, call your emergency dentist when oral pain persists. Seeking emergency care from a family physician or emergency room won’t treat the dental problems at their source.
What to Do Until You Can See a Dentist
Unless you’ve had a tooth knocked out or broken a tooth off (which requires same-day emergency dental care), here’s what to do for a dental emergency:
- Apply a cold compress to that side of your face for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Cold compresses help ease swelling and “numb” the area.
- Take an anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin or ibuprofen as directed.
- Rinse with warm salt water to help alleviate swelling and remove any debris.
- If you have swollen gums, floss the area gently to remove an object stuck in that area, such as impacted food. For large spaces, consider tying a knot in your floss and gently pulling it through that space.
For a fully avulsed (knocked out) tooth, gently rinse away any visible debris or dirt but don’t scrub the tooth root clean. Then, see if you can place it back into the tooth socket. If you can, apply pressure by biting down on a clean cloth or gauze. Broken tooth structures that cannot be reinserted should be placed into a sealed container and covered with milk or contact solution. If neither of those is available, you can use tap water and add a pinch of salt.
Most dentists will work you into their schedule during regular business hours. However, some dental emergencies will need immediate attention. When that’s the case, a great emergency dentist can arrange to meet you in person to address your dental problem.
Is a Tooth Infection Considered an Emergency?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Infected teeth, such as those with abscesses or large cavities, need to be treated with a root canal or filling as soon as possible. But a same-day emergency dental care appointment may not be necessary.
Rather, it’s best to see our dentist at your earliest opportunity before additional damage occurs to those teeth. A serious infection like periodontal disease or an abscessed tooth is best managed proactively with early diagnosis and treatment. Delaying care will, unfortunately, set you up for oral pain and possibly contemplate visiting the hospital emergency room over the weekend.
Do I Need to See a Dentist Immediately?
If you are experiencing severe tooth pain to the point that you’re unable to eat, go to work, or send your child to school, then you need emergency dental services. Particularly if you have a knocked-out tooth or moderate to severe swelling. Broken tooth structures need to be tended to as soon as possible to save the tooth. On the other hand, something like a slightly chipped tooth or broken dentures may not require immediate medical attention.
Emergency Dentist in Murrieta
At Madison Square Dentistry, we’re ready for every dental emergency, and you want to contact your dentist. Whether you’re experiencing tooth pain, have a cracked tooth, or can’t eat or go to work, our Murrieta dental office is here to help. New patients are always encouraged to call us if they’re experiencing severe pain. Contact our emergency dentist immediately for fast assistance.