You wake up in the middle of the night with a throbbing toothache; your jaw suddenly swells; you were involved in some type of incident that has resulted in excessive bleeding, or one or more teeth have been knocked out. These are some of the situations that require emergency dentistry. Of course, if your child is involved, the need seems greater than ever so contacting your pediatric dentist is your priority.
Unless you are a dentist, you probably don’t have any workable knowledge to treat a true dental emergency. But you don’t need to know about dentistry to be prepared for an emergency if one should occur.
Know the name and number of your family dentist for adults and pediatric dentist for your children. Make sure the numbers are posted in a prominent place for a caregiver if an emergency occurs when you are not home.
Dental emergencies often happen outside of normal dental office hours; if your dentist has emergency service, make sure this information is readily available. If your dental provider does not have on call service, you need to investigate your alternatives. If nothing else, seek care at your local hospital emergency room.
It is important to note that taking emergency time away from someone in need as a convenience in your own schedule is never advised. If your tooth has been bothering you for several days, but you were too busy to deal with it right away, this is likely not a true emergency. (Of course, delaying treatment can result in an emergency situation.)
Things you can do if the unthinkable should happen include:
- A tooth gets knocked out – try to replace the tooth in the socket without touching the roots or any tissue that is on the tooth. If you can’t hold it in place, put the tooth in a glass of milk or water and get to the dentist as soon as possible. If seen right away, this tooth may be saved.
- Excessive bleeding – place cotton or gauze to control bleeding; if bleeding isn’t stopped, don’t hesitate to seek help.
- Swelling – Ice packs wrapped in a cloth may help control swelling.
- Pain – An over the counter analgesic is recommended until your dentist can be seen.
Being prepared for a true dental emergency will allow all involved to remain calm and obtain the care needed. Call our team to get more tips for dental emergencies!