What’s considered a dental emergency? Should I call my dentist now or in the morning? These are common questions. Many people don’t really know what to do when tooth problems start in the middle of the night. Knowing the signs of a dental emergency can help you seek help fast to help avoid serious complications. If you’re not sure whether it’s a dental emergency or not, call our family dentistry professional for guidance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
When Should You Call the Dentist Outside of Office Hours?
There are many different types of dental emergencies, and sometimes it can be hard to know what to do. For example, some dental emergencies should be taken care of by your dentist. Others may even mean a trip to the emergency room. A general rule of thumb to keep in mind is that any time a problem could cost you a tooth or threaten your overall health, you should take immediate action.
Some signs you may be experiencing a dental emergency include:
- Severe pain
- Severe bleeding
- Missing tooth
- Loose adult teeth
- Sudden sensitivity
- Sudden tooth numbness
Any of these symptoms can signal a dental emergency. Therefore, call our dentist if you experience any of these symptoms or believe you need immediate help for your dental health.
Common Emergencies to Talk to Your Dentist About
There are several common emergency dental situations where you may need our dentist outside of office hours. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to give us a call than wait and risk serious complications.
Call Our Dentist about Knocked Out or Loose Adult Teeth
Adult teeth shouldn’t fall out or be loose, so it’s important to call our dentist if you experience this. If a tooth is loose or falls out, it means that your tooth has been removed from its permanent root. This can happen due to an injury or even other dental conditions like gum disease.
Getting to the dentist as soon as you notice loose teeth or when your tooth gets knocked out may help save your teeth. The faster you act, the higher the chance that we can reattach the tooth. It’s important to understand that once a tooth has been knocked out, the root can start to dry out, which reduces the chance we can save it. Try not to touch the root and pick the tooth up by the crown, or the part of your tooth you use to chew.
Then, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the root from drying out. If you can stick it back in the socket or even between your cheek and gums, this can help. However, be sure not to swallow the tooth. If you can’t do this, then you can try placing your tooth in a small container of milk or saliva to help protect it. However, all of these are temporary solutions and are really only intended to help protect the tooth while you’re on the way to the dentist.
In many cases, we can re-insert the tooth and splint it to the teeth next to it. It may require a root canal as well, depending on the damage to the tooth. However, if you can’t find the tooth or if the tooth can’t be re-implanted, there are other options available, such as dentures, bridges, and implants. It’s important to replace lost teeth because your jawbone actually needs the pressure on your teeth when chewing. Leaving a tooth unreplaced may lead to bone tissue loss in your jaw.
When a Chipped or Cracked Tooth is Urgent
In some cases, you may even need emergency services from your dentist for a chipped or cracked tooth. However, not every chipped tooth needs immediate attention from the dentist. If you have a small chip on your tooth that doesn’t hurt and doesn’t leave jagged edges that can cut your mouth, then you may be able to wait until the morning to give us a call. However, any time you have a chipped or cracked tooth that causes pain, then it’s time for some urgent family dentistry care. Also, if your chipped tooth leaves sharp pieces behind that can injure the inside of your mouth, then you also likely want to call us about the situation.
With severely cracked or broken teeth, there’s generally some damage to the inside of the tooth, which also requires quick action. For example, cracked teeth can expose and damage the tooth pulp, which may require a root canal and a permanent crown. In some cases, broken teeth can’t be saved, but there are many options to help replace significantly damaged teeth.
Emergency Family Dentistry Services for Dental Abscesses
An abscess is essentially a pocket of pus. These infections can happen in many different places. There are three main types of dental abscesses:
- Periapical abscess: This is an abscess in the root’s tip. This type of infection occurs when bacteria gets into the dental pulp, which is the inner area of your tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues.
- Periodontal abscess: Periodontal abscesses are infections in the bone and gum tissue that support your teeth. These may occur when you have a serious case of gum disease that allows the gums to pull away from your teeth and let in bacteria.
- Gingival abscess: This type of abscess occurs in the gum tissue. Some common causes of a gum abscess are poor dental hygiene, a weak immune system, or even food that gets stuck in the gum line.
Some symptoms of a dental abscess include fever, sensitivity, toothache, tender lymph nodes, facial swelling, swollen gums, foul taste in your mouth, or a pimple-like bump on your gums. Depending on your circumstances, our dentist may recommend different treatments. In some cases it may require antibiotics, drainage, a root canal, or extraction. If left too long, a dental abscess may turn into a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention. This is because infections in your mouth can also spread to other areas of your body and may even lead to sepsis, also known as blood poisoning.
When to Visit the E.R. for Dental Emergencies
Also, there are some cases where you may need to visit the emergency room for dental emergencies. Any time you think a dental issue may be life-threatening, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. Fortunately, these situations are less common than the ones where you need a dentist. However, it’s important to know the signs that you need immediate attention. Some of these include:
- High fever
- Rapid heart beat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Severe pain spreading along the jaw or neck
These could be symptoms of a more severe dental emergency. For example, a dental infection can spread quickly, including to the jaw bone, tissue near your mouth, or even other areas of the body.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
You may be wondering how you can prevent dental emergencies. Sometimes, they simply aren’t preventable. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk for dental emergencies.
Regular visits to your dentist is an important part of your dental health. Coming in for cleanings and dental exams can help you address any symptoms you’re experiencing that could turn into an emergency if ignored. Also, routine appointments with your dentist may help with early detection for problems that can quickly turn into emergencies.
Taking part in a good oral hygiene routine is also important for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Things like brushing at least twice a day, flossing each day, and replacing your toothbrush when needed can all help you take great care of your teeth.
Also, if you take part in contact sports where you may be at risk for trauma to the mouth, wearing a mouth guard can help soften any impact to reduce the risk for tooth loss and damage. Your family dentistry professional can offer suggestions for protecting your teeth while still enjoying your favorite sports and activities.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
Dental emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime, sometimes when you’re away from the supplies you may need until you can get to the dentist. You can put together a small emergency dental kit to keep on hand in case the unexpected strikes. You can buy these kits or you can put together your own with a few simple things that may help during an emergency.
Experienced Dentist Offering Emergency Services
At The ToothBooth, we provide excellent care for your teeth. If you need an emergency dentist near me, we are here for you. Dr. Taha offers experience in many different forms of dentistry, from preventative and restorative to cosmetic dentistry and even oral surgery. We help everyone from toddlers to seniors improve their smile. We accept most major insurance plans to help you manage out-of-pocket costs. If you don’t have insurance, we offer 20% off cleanings and exams for our non-insured patients. Call us today at (832) 437-0841 to learn more and book an appointment!