How to Know If You Need Emergency Dental Care
The only thing worse than a dental emergency is sitting around in pain, wondering if what you’re experiencing qualifies as an emergency. To clear up the confusion, we’ve got some general guidelines on how you should handle various dental problems. However, if you’re still not sure if you’re experiencing an emergency, please err on the side of caution and call our office.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
There are a number of issues that require immediate dental attention and some that can wait until Monday. These are some of the most common dental problems people face and how you should handle them:
- Knocked Out Tooth – A knocked out tooth requires immediate care. Call our office for an emergency appointment. In the interim, don’t handle the tooth’s roots. Instead, try to insert it gently back into its socket after carefully rinsing it with water or saliva (it’s okay if it’s a little bloody). If you can’t get the tooth into the socket, keep it in a small jar of milk or saliva until we see you.
- Loose or Misaligned Tooth from Trauma – Using light pressure, try to gently move the tooth back to its original position without forcing it. And of course, give us a call!
- Chipped, Cracked, or Fractured Tooth – Unless you’re in pain, a chipped tooth can usually wait to be dealt with until regular office hours. A cracked or fractured tooth, on the other hand, is an emergency. Gently rinse your mouth with water, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling, take an over-the-counter analgesic if needed, and call our office.
- Severe Infection – These should be dealt with immediately. While there are no special home-care instructions, you should call our office right away for treatment. Some of the common signs of a severe infection are swelling, constant throbbing or shooting pain, pus, and/or the area is warm to the touch.
- Problems with a Temporary Crown – If your temporary crown comes off, it isn’t an emergency but you should still contact our office for an appointment. In the meantime, use toothpaste, Vaseline, or Chapstick as a temporary dental adhesive. Over-the-counter temporary dental cement can work too.
- Tissue Injury or Facial Pain – Punctures, lacerations, and tears in the mouth should be treated immediately. The same holds true if you suspect you have a broken jaw. In this type of situation, you should visit a hospital emergency room immediately.
How Can I Prepare for a Dental Emergency?
Like any type of emergency, a dental emergency is unpredictable and is difficult to prepare for…or else it wouldn’t be an emergency! The best way to avoid dental emergencies is to visit Smile Hilliard regularly. When a true dental injury or emergency does happen, having a solid relationship with your dental office team can result in the best possible outcome, as we are already familiar with your oral health history, medical history, and any other pertinent information that is useful during these unfortunate situations. We also recommend that you store our number in your phone so you don’t need to look it up in the event of an emergency. Our main phone line is 614.534.0257.
How Can Smile Hilliard Help Me If I’m Experiencing a Dental Emergency?
We can help by:
- Providing instructions over the phone to help you minimize the pain or anxiety
- Assessing whether your emergency requires immediate care or can be scheduled later
- Getting you in for a same-day, emergency appointment
- Delivering fast, high-quality treatment to quickly resolve the problem
- Seeing you after-hours if you’re a patient of record
If you’re not experiencing an emergency right now but are due for a checkup, we can help with that as well! You can schedule your visit online or call our office at 614.328.9489 to request an appointment.