There’s usually no doubt when you need emergency medical help. You might have chest pains or find it difficult to breathe. It’s not so easy when it comes to your teeth. You might feel a slight toothache, or feel a little tenderness in your gums, and you wonder, “what’s the big deal?” The question of “what is a dental emergency” isn’t always the easiest to answer.
Each dentist may answer the question a little differently, but as a general matter, whenever you feel pain in your teeth or gums or elsewhere in your mouth, it could well be time to place a call to Lovett Pasadena. The more you understand the answer to the question, “what is a dental emergency?” the better equipped you are to do something about it.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Because problems with your teeth may not always seem urgent, there’s a tendency to want to tough it out. No one wants to have to go to the dentist. But a small problem can quickly become a big one.
It’s fair to wonder, then, what are the guidelines for a dental emergency? Here are some specific situations, according to the American Dental Association, that likely need a dentist’s attention right away:
- You’ve lost or broken a tooth
- Your braces have come loose, and a sharp wire is poking your gums
- You have jaw pain
- There is bleeding in your mouth that won’t stop
- Your mouth, tooth or jaw are swollen
- Your dentures need adjustments
A toothache may be an emergency if it includes extreme sensitivity to cold or warm liquids or food. An aching tooth could point to a cavity, which, if left for too long, can lead to deeper infections.
Dental Emergencies by the Numbers
Knowing what is a dental emergency, and what isn’t, is an important matter as the nation continues to struggle with escalating health care costs. Studies show that many people — perhaps as many as 800,000 — decide to visit the emergency room each year for assistance with a dental problem.
Some of those undoubtedly fit the definition of a dental emergency but are best addressed at the dentist. Emergency rooms aren’t dental offices and can only do so much to assist. Dentists are much more well equipped not only to ease your pain but resolve it.
Dental issues treated in the emergency room eat up precious resources and cost more. Knowing better what is a dental emergency can help steer patients to the right place.
You can take some steps on your own to help improve chances for a good outcome in a dental emergency, according to the American Dental Association.
For instance, if you’ve had a tooth knocked out completely, and can safely retrieve it, make sure to keep it moist. That will improve the chances of the dentist being able to put it back in its original socket. You can hold the tooth between your cheek and gums on your way to the dentist, or moisten it with milk.
Rinse your mouth if you’ve cracked a tooth or bitten your cheek or lip and make good use of cold compresses to ease swelling. By taking these steps, you can ensure you have the best possibility of quick treatment. And you’ll also have a better sense of what is a dental emergency, and what isn’t.
When to Call
Some dental issues can wait for the next appointment; others need attention right away. So, you might understandably ask, “what is a dental emergency?” The professionals at Lovett Pasadena can help you answer that question. Our team is skilled in emergency dentistry from toothache, to abscess and beyond. We also provide general dentistry needs, such as professional teeth cleaning, fillings and sealants, and dental crowns and bridges. Contact us at 281.336.8068 for an appointment today.