Dental emergencies can cause a lot of pain and discomfort; they can even potentially lead to long-term complications. But how do you define a dental emergency? When should you rush to the dentist, and when it is reasonable to wait until your next scheduled appointment?
For your health and comfort, it’s important to understand the difference between an urgent issue that should be seen right away, and a non-urgent dental concern that can wait. Here are some tips to help you recognize when you need immediate attention.
[Breakout section in its own block: If you’re having a dental emergency, we’re here to help. Call or visit your closest Enamel Dentistry location or contact us after hours at (512) 710-1045.]
Identifying Urgent Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies are surprisingly common; according to American Family Physician, approximately 22% of Americans reported having oral pain within the past 6 months.
However, not every dental concern demands urgent attention. We consider a dental emergency to be any issue that needs immediate treatment to stop bleeding and pain, save a tooth, or clear up an infection. Here are some examples of common dental emergencies that should be seen right away:
- Persistent or severe toothaches
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Swollen mouth or jaw
- Exposed nerves
- Knocked-out or partially dislodged tooth
- Loose teeth
- Dental infections
If you’re having trouble deciding whether your concern would be considered a dental emergency, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the pain severe?
- Are you experiencing a fair amount of bleeding?
- Did you lose a tooth?
- Are your teeth loose?
- Are you having difficulty speaking or eating due to the issue?
- Is there significant swelling in your face, jaw, or around the affected area?
- Have you noticed any unusual discharge or pus around your gums or teeth?
- Have you sustained a recent injury to your mouth or face?
- Are you feeling generally unwell or experiencing fever along with the dental problem?
- Have you recently undergone dental surgery or treatment that could be related to the current issue?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should receive emergency attention. If you're still uncertain about the severity of a dental situation, give us a call or stop by the office, and we can provide guidance on which steps to take next.
Examples of Non-Urgent Dental Concerns
Non-urgent dental concerns should still be dealt with as soon as possible, but they don’t necessarily require immediate treatment; they can generally be seen the next day during normal office hours. Some examples of non-urgent dental emergencies include:
- Dull toothaches
- A lost filling, crown, or bridge
- Food lodged between the teeth
- Broken or cracked teeth without severe pain
- Chipped teeth
- Mild gum discomfort
Why is it Important to Get Prompt Treatment for Dental Emergencies?
Addressing dental emergencies promptly is important for several reasons. Many dental emergencies are painful; seeking immediate treatment helps us alleviate your pain as soon as possible and prevent it from getting worse.
Beyond pain relief, receiving immediate care is essential for preserving your overall oral health. Left unaddressed for too long, some issues can lead to further damage, potential complications, or infections. In instances where a tooth is knocked out or dislodged, immediate treatment significantly increases the chances of successfully saving it.
At Enamel Dentistry, your oral health and comfort are our top priorities. Whether you have a dental emergency or a non-urgent concern, our experienced dentists are committed to providing high-quality dental care in any situation.