Most people avoid a hospital emergency room as much as possible. Not only can a visit generate a considerable expense, but there is usually a significant wait before a doctor sees you. But the American Dental Association estimates that someone visits a hospital emergency room approximately every 15 seconds for dental emergencies. A dental emergency is much more than a toothache, but what qualifies as an emergency? Here are a few times you need to be seen by an on-call dentist or at the emergency department.
You Have Damaged Or Lost A Tooth Due To Trauma
Many traumatic events can lead to chipped, broken, or dislodged teeth. Some of these events include:
- Sporting accidents
- Slips and falls
- Car accidents
- Face or mouth trauma
No matter how you damaged the tooth, acting quickly may save it. If you knock the tooth out completely, a dentist may be able to reinsert it into the socket if they see you shortly after the accident happens.
When recovering the tooth, do not touch its roots. Rinse the tooth with milk or water. Attempt to reinsert the tooth into the socket. If you are successful, once you reinsert it, hold it in place by biting down on a soft cloth and get to a dentist as quickly as possible.
If you cannot reinsert the tooth into the socket, hold it in your mouth, or transport it in milk. Keep the tooth moist, and do not allow the tooth to dry out.
You Have Excruciating Dental Pain
There is a difference between a toothache and excruciating dental pain. A simple toothache is something that responds to over-the-counter pain relievers. While you still need to see a dental professional, this type of toothache does not rise to the level of a dental emergency.
A dentist needs to see you quickly if you find yourself in excruciating dental pain, especially with unexplained swelling in your mouth or jaw. Pain and swelling often indicate some infection or irritation that needs addressing.
You Have Knocked Out A Filling
A missing filling often leaves behind a shell of a tooth with sharp edges. These edges come from when your dentist filed the tooth to hold your filling.
If left unaddressed, the sharp edges of the tooth can damage your tongue. Because there is a hole left behind, you run the risk of the tooth cracking or breaking. This further damage can expose your tooth's nerve, leading to further problems.
Speak to a dentist to learn more.