Accidents happen, and unlike our other bones, teeth won’t repair themselves. If you damage a tooth when your dentist’s office isn’t open, it can be tricky to know whether you should rush to an emergency dental clinic or wait until your primary dentist is back in the office on Monday. After all, what constitutes a dental emergency? When in doubt, you should always seek dental assistance immediately, because a few hours can make a huge difference in your care plan. However, emergency dental clinics can be expensive, and insurance won’t always cover your visit. To help you make the best decision, we’ve listed some common dental emergency situations below.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
A Large Chip or Crack
Whether you bit into Biscotti the wrong way or took a hit to the face in an intense game of volleyball, chipping or cracking a tooth can be surreal and unsettling. Although it’s easier said than done, try to stay calm, and assess the size of the chip or crack. If it is relatively large when you compare it to the size of your tooth, if you can see your tooth’s nerve, or if you feel intense pain, cancel your plans. Call your dentist’s office first because they might have a dental emergency line or be able to fit you into their schedule quickly. If they can’t accommodate you, they will likely still be able to provide helpful information so that you know where to go (or who to call) next.
While you wait to receive treatment, touch your tooth as little as possible, rinse your mouth with warm water, and apply pressure with a piece of gauze on any bleeding areas. Then, apply ice to your cheek or lips over the broken tooth to reduce swelling and pain. Next, take a pain reliever. If your dentist is able to see you the next day, he or she may tell you to cover the part of the tooth in your mouth with temporary dental cement from a drugstore to protect the tooth until your visit. Read our tips on how to care for a tooth during a dental emergency for additional help.
A Dislodged or Missing Tooth
What constitutes a dental emergency? A missing tooth certainly does. This type of dental emergency can also be nerve wracking. If you have healthy teeth and gums, chances are you haven’t felt a loose tooth or gaping hole in your mouth since elementary school. Care for the site of the trauma the same way you would care for a missing or chipped tooth. If your tooth is partially falling out, try to gently place it back into its socket, but never force it. Call your dentist immediately, and if you aren’t able to reach him or her, visit your local emergency room or emergency dental clinic. However, make sure to call your dentist even it’s outside of normal business hours. The line might redirect you to a preferred emergency dental clinic. In the meantime, try to keep your missing tooth safe and moist using milk or a preservation product that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance.
A Tooth Infection
If you’re experiencing a toothache with a blister-like sore, you could have an infection, so contact your dentist immediately. In most cases, a tooth infection or dental abscess is a type of dental emergency that can wait a few hours until your dentist can fit you into their schedule. However, if you have an autoimmune disease or a condition like diabetes that impacts your body’s ability to fight off infection, seek medical attention immediately.
What constitutes a dental emergency? If you have a chipped, cracked, missing, or infected tooth, you need to see a dentist right away. So if you live near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Your comfort and oral health are our top priorities. We are proud to offer you and your family a relaxing office environment while providing the care you need for a happier, healthier smile. It’s why we offer a variety of services like cleaning and exams, teeth whitening, and more. If you’re ready to set up an appointment, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or schedule one online. We look forward to hearing from you!