If you never expect a dental emergency to happen to you, you’re not alone. Although you might not think you’re at risk, 1 in 6 adults requires urgent dental care annually. If you find yourself with a knocked-out tooth or throbbing pain, you might head to the closest hospital instinctively. While that’s the logical solution for a medical issue, like a broken bone, it may not be the best decision for your smile. Here’s when you’ll want to skip the hospital and call your emergency dentist.
Emergency Room VS Emergency Dentist
Emergency departments provide countless lifesaving treatments. Although they can handle serious health and medical situations, hospitals aren’t equipped for dental emergencies. However, the Texas A&M University School of Public Health reports expenses for dental-related ER visits to reach about $2 billion per year. Hospitals can provide antibiotics and pain relievers, but they can’t address the underlying issue. An ER can keep you comfortable, but the source of your discomfort will linger in your mouth until its symptoms resurface.
An emergency dentist will pinpoint the problem to eliminate the issue at the source. They have the qualifications, treatments, and technologies to restore a healthy, functional smile. Unless you’re experiencing a medical emergency, it’s better to call your dentist.
Handling Dental Emergencies
If you suspect a broken jaw or swelling is restricting your breathing, skip your dentist and head to the hospital. For most other issues, contact your dentist, such as:
- Knocked-out tooth
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Object stuck between teeth
- Lost/broken restoration
If you’re not sure where to go, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. They’ll learn more about your situation to provide you with further instructions. If you require an appointment, your dentist will discuss how to manage your symptoms at home until seeing your dentist, such as:
- Stay calm and assess the situation.
- Take an OTC pain reliever to manage any discomfort.
- Apply a cold compress to the outside of the face to reduce swelling and bruising.
- Avoid eating anything hard, hot, or acidic before going to bed.
- Eat softer foods and avoid chewing with your tooth.
- Sleep with your head elevated to prevent throbbing discomfort.
- Don’t try to repair broken restorations or dentures.
Stop Your Pain and Save Your Smile
As with many emergencies, time is of the utmost importance. Waiting too long to get the care you need can cost you your tooth. Don’t lose valuable minutes heading to the wrong location. Contact your emergency dentist right away for an appointment. After addressing your pain, they’ll create a personalized treatment plan to save your smile.
About Dr. Jane Reeves
Dr. Reeves earned her dental degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. She peruses advanced educational training regularly to treat the most complex oral health issues, like dental emergencies. If you need a dentist right away, don’t panic. Contact our office today for an appointment. We strive to make a stressful situation easier while rehabilitating your smile.