What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Posted on: July 16, 2018

It is challenging for the average person to determine if his or her oral problem is a dental emergency. Some oral pain does not qualify as a dental emergency, yet other dental issues require immediate attention from an emergency dentist. Some oral problems need immediate treatment while others will not have to be addressed until the regular dentist is available during typical business hours to perform an in-depth analysis.

Consider the severity of the dental injury

Anything from a slip and fall to a sports-related injury or biting food that is overly-hard can cause a dental injury. No two mouth injuries are the same. The severity of the damage along with the location of the tooth in question determines whether there is a legitimate dental emergency or if the problem can be taken care of during regular business hours. As an example, if there is a severe tooth crack, nerve damage, a missing tooth or if a significant portion of the tooth is missing, the patient has a real dental emergency. However, if there is a minor fracture or a chipped tooth that is not egregiously painful, it can be treated by the dentist during regular business hours.

In most cases, if the dental issue is not as severe as a knocked-out or broken tooth, the decision to visit with an emergency dentist or the regular dentist will not be so easy. As an example, there might be pain from an abscessed tooth that might not be debilitating but still significant. If the pain interferes with your ability to focus, work or sleep, reach out to your dentist to see if there is an open slot in the schedule for such an emergency analysis and treatment. If the office cannot see you within a day or two and the pain persists, it makes sense to meet with an emergency dentist. Even if you are sure the dentist's office is closed, you should still call as the answering machine will provide valuable information about dental emergencies.

Defining dental emergencies

There is much debate as to what constitutes a real dental emergency. A knocked-out tooth is an excellent example of a dental emergency. Knocked-out teeth cause significant bleeding that can be controlled through the application of pressure with a cold compress. However, such force is only a temporary solution. A visit to the emergency dentist is necessary to address the missing tooth and alleviate the pain. Misaligned or loose teeth must be repaired as quickly as possible. Though the correction process will likely prove somewhat uncomfortable, it must be performed as soon as possible. Apply slight pressure or bite gently until the dentist can meet with you. Furthermore, dental abscesses and severe toothaches also qualify as dental emergencies.

What about fractured, cracked or chipped teeth?

Broken or chipped teeth that do not cause sensitivity or pain are not legitimate dental emergencies. Damaged restorations do not qualify as dental emergencies either. If you have any such dental issues and the pain is not extreme, wait until your regular dentist is available to have the problem addressed.

Contact Us Today

If you have a dental problem or if you have not had a dental examination and cleaning in the prior six months, it is time to take action by scheduling a dental appointment. We can also provide advice regarding dental emergencies. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

Request an appointment in our Matteson dentist office here: https://www.progressivedentalsmiles.com.


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