There are times that you may need to see the dentist for an emergency visit. Conveniently sometimes issues aren’t too serious and you can wait to make an appointment with your dentist. There are other issues, however, that should be addressed immediately and are considered to be a dental emergency.
If you are like most people, you go see the dentist every six months for a cleaning. This is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Once a year, you will need to have x-rays done to check for cavities or any other underlying problems.
Tooth Loss Recovery
If you were hit with a blunt object in the mouth, it can knock out one or more teeth. Losing a tooth can have a very negative effect on the appearance of your smile. As soon as you lose a tooth, you should contact an emergency dentist. If you care for the tooth properly as soon as it falls out, there is a chance that the dentist can place it back into your mouth. All you need to do is soak the tooth in a glass of milk until you get to the dentist. Some older people believe that because they are old, there is no point in saving the tooth. This is not the case. If you are a senior and you have healthy teeth, there is no reason that you shouldn’t try to save your tooth.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
If you eat something hard or if you get hit with a blunt object, it can chip or break your tooth and become a dental emergency quite quickly. This is considered to be an emergency for a couple of reasons. First, the broken tooth can have a negative effect on the appearance of your smile. Second, if the tooth broke along the nerve, it can be extremely painful. If you can find the piece of the tooth, you should put it in a glass of milk and go see an emergency dentist immediately.
Toothaches – Oral Abscess
If you have a mild toothache, you should be able to wait until your dentist can fit you in. If the pain is severe, you should go see an emergency dentist. There are several reasons that you could have a severe toothache. If the pain is making it difficult for you to eat, speak, or sleep, you should see a dentist immediately. Say you notice a white lump on your gums, there is a good chance that it is an oral abscess. If you aren’t sure if the lump is an abscess, there are a few symptoms that you should look for.
• Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold
• Facial swelling
• A severe toothache
• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area or jaw
If you notice any of these issues, you should go see an emergency dentist. If you notice a rush of foul tasting fluid in your mouth followed by pain relief, it could mean that your abscess has ruptured. This can be very dangerous. The bacteria from the abscess can spread to your jaw, your neck, and even your brain. In more serious cases, it can cause sepsis, which is a life-threatening infection in your bloodstream. As soon as you notice the symptoms of an abscess, you should seek medical attention. If you have any type of tear, laceration, or puncture wound in your mouth, on the inside of your cheeks, or on your tongue, it is considered a dental emergency. When the injury occurs, you should rinse your mouth with water, apply gauze to the wound, and then seek medical attention.
What To Do If You Cannot Afford an Emergency Dentist
If you don’t have insurance and you cannot afford to see an emergency dentist, you have options. The same is true if you are a senior and you are living on a fixed budget. If your situation is a true emergency, you should go to the emergency room. Most public hospitals cannot refuse treatment to their patients if they are unable to pay. You might end up being billed, however, you will get the treatment that you need and you can work out a payment plan later. When students who are studying to be a dentist get to a certain level of their education, they need to start working on real patients.
There are several dental schools who offer free dental treatment so that the students can practice. If you cannot afford treatment, being treated by a student dentist is a great option. There are several clinics who offer care based on your income. If you have little or no income, you could get the treatment that you need for free. They will use a formula to determine who much money you can afford for treatment. An oral emergency is something that should never be ignored. If you are suffering from an emergency, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you cannot pay, you have options to get the treatment that you need.
When dealing with certain dental issues, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. While some situations can wait for an upcoming dental appointment, in a true emergency, time is of the essence. The issue is knowing how to differentiate between an average dental problem and a pressing emergency that needs immediate attention.
Addressing a Dental Emergency
A dental emergency involves any situation that has the potential to permanently damage your teeth and your dental health overall. The following scenarios should be considered dental emergencies:
1. Tooth Loss Recovery
In the event that you’ve sustained a blow to the mouth, you will likely be at risk of tooth loss. Losing one or more of your teeth will not only damage your smile, it can also lead to an infection and permanent damage. By acting quickly after any such incident, you’ll be able to have a dentist assess the health of your mouth and/or replace any teeth that may have fallen out.
In the event that a tooth has come out, be sure to properly care for it so that the dentist can successfully place it back into your mouth. Soak you tooth in milk until you can see your dentist. This will ensure that the tooth is preserved until it can be re-implanted. Ideally, you should visit a dentist within 30 minutes to ensure the re-implantation is successful.
2. Broken or Chipped Teeth
Teeth can become chipped or broken and either scenarios should be considered an emergency situation. If your tooth breaks along the nerve, you will likely be in significant pain. In the event that you chip or break your tooth, find the other part of the tooth and place it in milk. Then, see a dentist as soon as possible.
3. Oral Abscess and/or Toothaches
A mild toothache shouldn’t be much of a concern. However, if you are in severe pain, you should visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible. While there are many reasons for a toothache, the severe pain could be an indication of an oral abscess.
You likely have an oral abscess if you are experiencing the following:
Sensitivity to Cold or Hot Temperatures
- Facial Swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, don’t hesitate to go to an emergency dentist. If an oral abscess ruptures, you’ll notice fluid erupting from the swollen area in your mouth. This fluid contains bacteria that can travel to the neck, jaw, and then your brain. If the situation worsens, an oral abscess can lead to sepsis–a fatal infection that occurs when the bacteria has traveled into your bloodstream.
For this reason, any injury to the inside of your mouth should be regarded as an emergency and you should be treated as soon as possible.
Other Signs of a Dental Emergency
While the above scenarios are definite emergencies, if you are experiencing any of the following things, you should see an emergency dentist as soon as possible:
- You have loose teeth
- You’re experiencing bleeding in the mouth
- Your gums are swelling
In most cases, a dental emergency will be painfully obvious. However, it’s always better to be safe. If you’re under the impression that something is seriously wrong, you should find an emergency dentist sooner rather than later.
Can’t Afford Emergency Dental Services?
If you are without insurance or living on a fixed budget, it will be quite expensive to receive emergency dental treatment. In a real emergency, it is best to go to the closest emergency room. Public hospitals are legally obligated to provide treatment to patients that cannot pay.
At a public hospital, you’ll be able to get the immediate treatment that you need, though you may be billed later.
How to Avoid Dental Emergencies
To avoid dental emergencies, it’s best to be proactive about oral hygiene. Do this by scheduling regular checkups at the dentist and practicing daily dental care at home. This will help to keep your teeth healthy, avoiding any major issues like gum disease, decay, or infection.
Work with your dentist to create a treatment plan that will help to eliminate potential problems before they get any worse. This will work to prevent any future emergencies from occurring.