Dental issues are never pleasant, but how do you know if your problem qualifies as a dental emergency?
In life, we get used to distinguishing between a scrape or bruise that can be walked off versus an injury that requires medical attention, but we’re often not as confident in dealing with dental problems. For example, if your gums start to bleed after you floss, is that normal, or should you see a dentist right away?
It can also be difficult to determine if what you’re experiencing is a dental emergency or a medical emergency. For instance, if your tooth gets knocked out, should you see a dentist, or should you go to an emergency room?
If you’re ever in doubt, the best course of action you can take is to call our dentists. At Family Dentistry, we can advise you on where to go to get the dental care you need.
In general, though, here are three signs that you may be experiencing a :
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Broken teeth
- Severe pain
1. Uncontrollable Bleeding
We all lose teeth during childhood, an event sometimes accompanied by not just a visit from the Tooth Fairy, but also the presence of blood.
If you lose a tooth as an adult and start bleeding, don’t panic. You can apply pressure with some cold, wet gauze. It may be easier to bite down on the gauze than to hold it with your fingers.
If the bleeding still won’t stop, then you should start treating your situation like a dental emergency. Call our emergency dentists so we can see you immediately.
Of course, not all facial injuries are isolated events. For example, you may lose a tooth in a serious car accident. If you’re experiencing uncontrollable bleeding anywhere other than your mouth, then you should go to an emergency room, not a dentist’s office.
2. Broken Teeth
Trauma to the face may result in broken teeth or facial bones. If your tooth has only been chipped or cracked, it may not be a dental emergency. However, if your tooth has any jagged edges that may cut your cheeks, then you should see a dentist right away.
If your tooth has been , be sure to pick it up by the crown (top), not the roots. Rinse the tooth in water only. Then, if you’re able, you can put the tooth back in its socket. If you can’t reposition the tooth, put it in milk to keep it moist. In either case, call our emergency dentist right away so we can hopefully put the tooth back in place.
Depending on the type of trauma you’ve suffered, you may also have broken facial bones to contend with. If there’s any risk of broken bones obstructing your airway or causing any other kind of life-threatening damage, go to the hospital immediately, not a dentist.
3. Severe Pain
Some people hesitate to call the dentist if their only symptom is pain. However, pain is one of our best indicators that something is wrong. If it’s severe, it could even be considered a dental emergency.
When we think of dental pain, you may picture an annoying toothache as a worst-case scenario. However, dental pain can have serious consequences. Severe pain in your teeth or gums can stop you from eating, sleeping, or talking. This can lead to undernourishment, insomnia, or, for children in particular, speech development issues.
If you’re suffering from dental pain, call our emergency dentists. In cases of minor or moderate dental pain, we can typically schedule an appointment in the next few days. For severe dental pain, we’ll want to see you as soon as possible.