Going to an emergency dentist is similar to going to the emergency room because they are frequented by patients who have dental emergencies. However, not all dental injuries are emergencies. This is something patients need to understand if they do not want to be stuck with an expensive bill.
Seeing emergency dentists for your after-hours dental needs
Emergency dentists are important to dental health because they provide emergency services. These are for patients dealing with dental health problems that cannot see their dentist immediately because their office is closed for the day, the weekend or for the holidays.
Emergency dentists will treat anyone that walks into their office. But, they should only be used in case of emergencies. Minor problems like tooth sensitivity, sore gums and bad breath do not require a visit to the emergency dentist. However, major problems like toothaches, broken or chipped teeth, lost crowns, dental abscess and other problems that really hurt require immediate attention when possible.
In some cases, dental emergencies can be treated at home temporarily until the patient’s dentist is back in the office. However, even though there are home remedies that can temporarily fix most of the problems, the pain associated with some of the injuries will require immediate attention.
Types of dental emergencies
The most common type of dental emergencies include:
These can be very painful, making it difficult to eat, drink, sleep and function normally. In a lot of cases, serious toothaches can be caused by an abscess or infection irritating the nerves in and around the tooth. If the pain persists after taking over-the-counter pain medication, you should go see an emergency dentist. If the patient has to wait a while to see the dentist, they can get temporary relief by doing the following:
- Use an icepack on the outside of the mouth over the affected area to reduce swelling
- Rinse their mouth with a mixture of salt and warm water to kill bacteria and alleviate the swelling
- Remove food particles lodged near the affected tooth with dental floss
- Use an oral numbing gel on the tooth and the surrounding gums
Chipped or broken teeth
People who break or chip a tooth should go see an emergency dentist as quickly as possible. The piece of the tooth that fell off can still be reattached. Any piece of the tooth that falls off should be rinsed in warm water, preserved in a container of milk and taken to the dentist. The pain associated with a chipped or broken tooth can be alleviated with a cold compress or over-the-counter painkillers.
An abscess is an infection that occurs either inside or outside a tooth root, causing a significant amount of pain. People with dental abscesses should seek immediate help. The infection can spread throughout the body and cause other significant health problems.
Dental emergencies tend to hurt and should be looked at as quickly as possible to prevent them from getting worse. If you have a dental emergency and cannot see your dentist, visit an emergency dentist near you to get treated.
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