The best way to avoid an unexpected dental emergency is by keeping up with your regular checkups and exams. When you keep up with regular appointments every six months, we can take care of dental issues right away. Also, routine visits can help you avoid a costly dental emergency and screen for more serious problems, like gum disease or oral cancer. When a cavity or other issue is discovered early, it can be taken care of right away. Often, this translates into a simpler and more economical visit for you.
Although, dental emergencies do occur between visits. So be on the lookout for these symptoms.
A toothache is one of the most common phone calls we receive. Usually, it is an early indicator that there is something more serious going on. So, whatever you do, don’t ignore it. First, a toothache may start as an annoying, dull pain that comes and goes. Other times, the tooth will be extremely sensitive and hurts to chew on or touch. Another sign that you need to get in to see us right away is if a tooth throbs, or keeps you up at night. Any of these issues may indicate an infection on the inside of your tooth.
Therefore, don’t ignore a pesky toothache. It is considered a dental emergency. Most often, it only takes a quick, couple minutes to relieve your pain and diagnose the problem.
Even if it has been awhile since you have been in to see us, we won’t make you feel bad. We understand and want to get you out of pain. We want to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Now, if you aren’t a current patient of record, that’s okay too. We leave time in our daily schedule to accommodate an unexpected dental emergency. So, don’t hesitate to call us if you are experiencing tooth pain. We look forward to helping you and getting you back on track with your routine care.
Broken or Knocked Out Tooth
Also, if a tooth is knocked out, it is considered a dental emergency. First and foremost, this situation needs to be treated with a sense of urgency. In order to ensure the highest rate of success, give us a call right away. The good news is, if a permanent tooth is treated within 30 minutes, it is possible to save it.
First, find the tooth and collect any broken pieces. Next, be sure that you handle the tooth as little as possible. Then, gently rinse it with warm water. Be sure that you only remove any dirt or debris. You don’t want to rub or scrape the tooth, be very gentle. Also, be sure that you don’t touch the area of the tooth that contains the root. The best way to handle the fragments is to handle it on the top (crown) of the tooth.
After it is cleaned, rinse your mouth with warm water. Ideally, you need to put it back in your mouth in the empty area. If it cannot be placed securely in the area where it came out, store the broken pieces in between the cheek and the gums. If that is uncomfortable, the tooth and fragments can be placed in milk. This will keep the tooth from drying out.
Lastly, get in to see the emergency dentist right away.
Other Symptoms of a Dental Emergency
Here are some other symptoms of a possible dental emergency.
- If you experience changes in gum tissue, it may be an early sign of periodontal disease or gingivitis. Also, if you notice a red or bluish color, other than the normal pink color, call us right away. Any swelling of the gums is also a symptom that requires immediate attention.
- Be on the lookout for white spots on the teeth, because this is another sign of decay. Often times, these spots can be identified during a regular preventative appointment. But if you notice them between visits, it’s always a good idea to come on in and have it checked out.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food or liquids is another symptom that we’d like to know about. This could mean that the nerve is unhappy. Or it may be a result of another issue, like nighttime grinding or clenching. Whatever the cause, it’s worth a trip in to see us.
Lastly, if you are ever unsure if what you are experiencing is a true dental emergency, give us a call. We can talk it through with you to help determine if you need to get in right away, or if the issue can be addressed at your next dental visit.
Dr. Potts is a gentle, caring dentist that uses the most advanced materials and procedures available. He practices comfortable, health-centered dentistry, with a strong emphasis on getting to know each patient. In addition to his technical proficiency, Dr. Potts is a careful listener. He makes sure to understand what you want and will explain beforehand what treatment is best for your individual needs, along with all options available to you.