Some dental problems require your immediate attention, warranting professional emergency dental services. Sometimes a situation is so bad you should call your dentist (or their emergency line) immediately. Others can wait a few hours or a day. If you ever call your dentist and your doctor calms you and suggests an appointment can be made within a few days, there is no need for embarrassment. Your dentist knows what you need and how soon you should get treatment.
What’s an Emergency and What Can Wait
A dental emergency occurs when you have one or more of the following symptoms or situations:
• Severe pain, swelling
You could have an abscess requiring immediate antibiotics. Abscesses are life-threatening if not treated professionally. If a dental clinic is unavailable, go to your nearest hospital emergency room.
• Broken braces or caught wires that prohibit speech or eating
Dental repair can wait until regular office hours, but the immediate issue (tangled wires) can be remedied at your local hospital emergency room or clinic.
• Filling or crown falls out and causes pain or bleeding
Call the dentist and inquire if this requires emergency attention. S/he will know more about the location of the dental work, its depth and any nerves or roots that may be affected.
Issues Not Requiring Emergency Dental Services or Oral Surgery
If your child loses a “baby tooth,” don’t hit the panic button; another one will likely come in within a year or two. Calm your child and apply pressure to the area (if it’s bleeding) with a piece of cold, wet gauze. If your child is old enough to follow directions, ask him or her to bite down on the gauze. Provide appropriate child doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. An ice pop may also help. Call your dentist right away, though, to get expert advice.
Bleeding gums in children or adults require a scheduled dental exam so possible gum disease can be assessed and periodontal treatment recommended. Make a dental appointment right away. Ignoring this symptom can result in loss of teeth, bone loss, and gum surgery.
If you are whitening your teeth and experience pain and tooth/teeth sensitivity, understand this is a common reaction. Anti-sensitivity toothpaste can help.
Children tend to be neglectful about cleaning and caring for their retainers. If one is lost, avoid expensive and painful complications by contacting your dentist right away to replace the retainer. If this situation is neglected, you are heading for two emergencies: both dental and financial.
Contact our experts at Ohana Dental Clinic to schedule a consultation regarding your dental health, and how we can help your family keep their natural teeth the rest of their lives.